Pentecost 8, 2023

Jesus’ use of seed imagery takes a different turn this week. Last week we pondered a seed sown but which did no bear fruit all the time. This week we are into the problem of Evil. Why is it that this world appears to us to be so messed up? In my own community a recently passed law which decriminalized drug possession has had a deluge of unintended but terrible consequences for our community. I think the people who voted for this honestly thought they were being compassionate. But this has been anything but compassionate. The human beings addicted to narcotics who are strewn about our streets are not being well served by this situation. But it appears that all the solutions are equally problematic. Why is this so hard?

Jesus speaks of a world as a field and the seed sown as the people of God. But in their midst, in their hearts, another has sown another seed, a terrible seed which bears now fruit but consumes the resources which the good seed needs to thrive. Jesus description of the field’s master is strange. Every gardener knows that we should pull the weeds, the sooner the better, even if that means a few of the good plants get destroyed in the process. But God is not really tending a field. He is nurturing a world, our world, …us.

Jesus calls on all of us to trust this week. There is a day of reckoning. Judgment does happen and there will be a separation of good from evil. A great bonfire of destruction awaits the evil on that day, an unquenchable fire. But until then, God’s strange and paradoxical kingdom will continue to baffle and perplex us.

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