Yesterday we at St. Thomas's gathered as Christians do on the Lord's Day for Word and Sacrament. We're trying a Summer Schedule of 1 service at 9 AM with less music rather than our usual schedule of 2 services at 8 and 10. Seems to be so far, so good, but I haven't really gotten any feedback yet. But I had to pack and get out to Cross Roads Camp and Conference Center, where I am serving as Visiting Chaplain this week. So here's my sermon notes from yesterday. My continued apologies for the bulleting - I will try to work on it later.
St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Vernon
Proper 11A RCL 2008
Gen 28:10-19a; Ps 139:1-11, 22-23; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
The Rev. R. F. Solon, Jr., Vicar
May these words be in the Name of Him who knows both the weeds and the wheat in all of us, Amen!
o A basic human necessity in the West.
o All kinds – white, wheat, rye, various artisan breads
o My fave is sourdough, by the way
o It smells great when it’s baked
o Can add all kinds of things to it – raisins, nuts, fruit, (then it’s fruitcake and lasts forever)
o Amazing how we figured out about bread
o Ever stop to think about food and how it came about….
· Bread made from wheat, usually, but can be made from potatoes and stuff too
· Obviously important in Jesus’ day, here’s another parable about it.
o Last week the seeds were not really named, just implicitly valuable.
o This week it’s clearly about wheat
o (recount the parable)
· Parables are meant to point away from themselves
· In this case something about the Kingdom of Heaven – pretty explicit, J says so
· All of chapter 13 is about why not everyone is rushing to hear and accept the Good News.
· Last week we discovered that even then the Word is spread about like seed before the wind, not everyone receives it.
· This week it’s about judgement – how long will things go on?
o Definite end – “the end of the age”
o Sorting of the weeds and wheat
o Pretty harsh language about those who are seem to be weeds
o Barns for the wheat, the furnace of fire for the weeds
· Two ideas here
o We’re not doing the sorting – God is!
§ Not to judge ourselves, God will do that
o Time is not determined – when the harvest is ripe
· We are not to be the sorters!
o We may be wheat, or we may be weeds, but the parable is explicit about letting them grow up together
o Not the best farming practice, but then J was a carpenter, after all!
· But what about this Judgment? Is this Hell?
· Lots of different ideas about this
o I don’t usually talk about Hell
o J doesn’t much either, but in Matthew he does
· This is a passage that really suggests that there will be some sort of time after sorting that is nasty to the weeds and good to the wheat
· This is where I’m supposed to ask you whether you are weeds are wheat. Except I’m not going to.
· Here’s what I believe, which I think is consistent with all of Scripture and of what I know and understand to be God’s will for us in Jesus:
· Sorting – judgment, if you will, happens in an ongoing way, by individuals who decide they do not want to be art of God’s economy and so disconnect themselves from God.
· God, as far as we can see, is putting off the assertion of his own omni-ness in creation for some indeterminate time. That’s why the end of the age hasn’t come yet. Perhaps – and we’ll never know – he’s waiting for us to get our acts together.
· In the meantime, each of us are indeed called to be wheat – to be fruit of 30, 60, or 100x.
· Mission of the Church is to reconcile all to God and each other in JC – that’s what being wheat is about – to proclaim God’s love we already know to the world.
· We already know people respond differently. We know now it isn’t up to us in or out of the church to judge how people respond or not. Our job is to concentrate on living out our lives as faithful followers of JC.
· Does not mean, btw, that anything goes
o Addiction, violence, destructive behanvior to self or others or the community – must always confront that
o Respect the dignity of human being in the process (Bapt. Cov.)
o The Commandment is still in force - Love one another as Christ loves us
· So rather than ask if you’re weeds or wheat, my questions are:
o Where is the wheat in your life? The weeds?
o Do you find yourself judging others? That’s God’s job after all
· We know how important wheat is. What are you doing to cultivate the wheat in yourselves, and get rid of the weeds?
· We don’t need to worry about others – remember logs and motes in eyes? Concentrate on ourselves – let God take care of everyone else in God’s own good time.
· Let’s concentrate on treating others as wheat - better to err on the side of caution than try to overstep our own bounds and get stuck in the weeds.
Bread is the staff of life. We eat the Bread of Heaven every Sunday. We are the wheat, mixed with the weeds. Tjhere is both weed and wheat in each of us, after all! Let each of us be the Bread of Heaven which gives life to the world around us, not just now, in the walls of St Ts, but when we walk outside this place as well. The world is hungry for the bread we provide. How can you be that bread this week?
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.