Matthew 13:24-30 – New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat
24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
When we reflect on the parable of the weeds and wheat we need to remember that Jesus was considered an enemy weed that needed to be ripped up and killed outside the gate by the religious and political powers of his day. We also need to remember that Jesus spent much of his ministry in relationship with people that the dominant religious and political powers considered to be weeds that needed to be punished and removed, but who in the end were clearly instruments of the Kingdom/Queendom of God.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was another person that the dominant religious and political powers ripped up and killed. He said in his “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail”; “One day the South will recognize its true heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose facing jeering and hostile mobs and the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of a pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman of Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride the segregated buses, and responded to one who inquired about her tiredness with ungrammatical profundity: “My feet is tired, but my soul is rested.” They will be the young high school and college students, young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders courageously and nonviolently sitting-in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’s sake. One day the South will know that when in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred value in our Judeo-Christian heritage, and, thusly, carrying our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the formation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” (A Testament of Hope, p.302)
So, I am glad that today with our culture’s self-righteousness and hatred, that in the parable of the weeds and wheat, Jesus counsels patience with what the world call weeds and stands up for the weeds to be valued by the judgment of God, not the dominate powers. I am also glad that Jesus stood up for the weeds not to be ripped up but to grow together with the wheat in relationship to each other, so that the wheat of this world can discover the life and truth of the Kingdom/Queendom of God so often seen as weeds.
This teaching of Jesus is powerfully important today when our dominant culture instantly considers immigrant, refugee children and LBGTQ people weeds to be punished and removed.
R. Lawton Higgs, Sr.
July 18, 2014