May 7th, 2020

Grace and peace friends,

My Garden Out Front

I find it impossible to work in my garden without thinking of Jesus’ parables. So much of Jesus’ words and so much of what made up Jesus’ world was agriculture. That is why so many of his parables begin with farmers, or gardeners, or sowers, or people going out to tend their fields. And it is also why Jesus’ parables spoke so deeply into the lives of the common person in Judah—because they were farmers! So as Amy and I were toiling in the soil pull out dead things and weeds, this parable came into mind:

“Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

-Matthew 13:24-30

I didn’t plant the weeds (or the flowers!) in this garden! They were here when we moved in! It was easy to move in and start enjoying the flowers last June, but the weeds evoke different emotions: annoyance at the sight, irritation knowing it is a job I have to do later, annoyance when the root isn’t dug up all the way so I know this weed will come back in a few weeks.

Jesus hit the nail on the head when he compared God’s Kindom to a field full of wheat and weeds. People always say the church is like a family, well families are dysfunctional (no exceptions). We get to enjoy all the great things about family: celebrations, support, friendship, and love. But we also have to deal with the weeds, the problems that put a strain on relationships, that pop up again and again, just like weeds.

As I think of Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday (May 10th!!), I think about my own mother. How she must have watched her children grow up as a garden. The skills and talents blooming and producing goodness in their lives. Witnessing heartache and insecurities creeping their way into the garden causing them to questions their self-worth the same way she has questioned herself. Taking joy in the gardens of her grandchildren as she sees her daughter become a gardener too.

We are weeds and wheat. Jesus said the good and the bad grow together, we cannot expect them to be separate, we are all human. When the harvest comes God uses all of us, our wheat is used for nourishment and our weeds are used for warmth. We are weeds and wheat, God uses all of us.

Pastor David Hodd