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St. James' Glastonbury
Episcopal Church

Rev. Matt Handi - Weekly Message

It’s easy to read this week’s appointed gospel and think that there is an “us and them” somewhere in there. You see, some folks trespassed on a farmer’s and sowed weeds amongst the good wheat just planted.

And what is most dastardly about this weed, an invasive plant named Lolium temulentum or commonly called darnel. Darnel is both a weed and a rye grass and rye grass can look similar to wheat. The only way to remove the darnel would be to uproot it plant by plant.

But there are two issues here:

  1. Darnel looks very much like wheat, especially in its early stages.

  2. Darnel’s roots would have been entangled in the good wheat’s roots by the time the workers would have been able to discern the difference between the good and bad.

Knowing this, the landowner tells the workers not to uproot the darnel for fear of taking with it the good crop as well. Instead, the landowner says they will separate the good from the bad at the time of the harvest.

Now, we can point to this story and say there is good and bad, that the evil doers planted weeds on the good soil and that action was wrong. And it is.

But! We can also look to see how the landowner responds to the effects of that planting. Certainly, in this parable the listeners would have know that planting the weeds was bad. That is evident in the laws of the day that made it illegal for others to sabotage a neighbor’s crop. It is in the response though where we see quite an interesting lesson.

That lesson is God is asking us to wait and see and God will sort out which gets separated. And that lesson is we need to look at the potential good in all of us. If we deem Christ’s followers as the good wheat, and others who do not follow God’s law as the bad seed and we take it on ourselves to separate the good from the bad, we are then in danger of removing the good along with the bad.

That is not what God wants. Because none of us are wholly good and none of us are wholly bad. We stumble; we make mistakes. It is not on us to judge such things and instead faithfully know those who should be judged will be judged by God. Instead, we must remember that we were all created in the image of God and must aspire to be the people God wishes us to be.

And God wishes for only love; let God sort the harvest.