Got Wheat?

July 20, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Proper 11 – RCL Year A
Genesis 28:10-19a; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

In today’s gospel we have another parable from Jesus to the crowds, and as Matthew seems kind enough to do, we also have an explanation of the symbols in the parable, shared only with the disciples… and us, it seems.

Like the sower and the seeds parable we heard last Sunday, Jesus continues to use farming imagery familiar to his audience. But in this parable the seeds no longer represent the spreading of God’s word. Instead we have two kinds of seeds. The seeds of wheat are the good seeds sown by the Master. The other seeds are weeds, sown at night by the enemy. We are told that the good seeds represent the children of the kingdom, while the weeds represent the children of the evil one, sown by the devil.

Now, some might look at this text and conclude that one’s goodness or evilness is predetermined – that when we come into this world, we are either cast as a seed of wheat or as a weed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t believe that this is how things work. And, for the purpose of Matthew’s gospel, this parable is more likely about Jesus’ hope to expand God’s kingdom in the world.

Through this parable, Jesus is beckoning the crowd to be WHEAT… that is, to hear his message about God and live into God’s call to love others. The alternative is to fall under the influence of those who act contrary to God’s message of love; those who focus on, or get distracted by, worldly things.

Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The Last Sunday after Epiphany – Year A RCL

Exodus 24:12-18, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9

Peter, John and James go up the mountain with Jesus and Jesus is transfigured. His face beams like the sun and his clothes are dazzling white. In Luke’s version, this transfiguration occurs while Jesus is praying, but today’s reading from Matthew doesn’t provide any context for the change, it just happens.

And when it happens, and Elijah and Moses appear there with Jesus, this doesn’t seem to frighten the disciples in any way. Peter actually wants to set up camp for them. He offers to build three dwellings, one for each of them. This is a glorious event, and although he doesn’t fully understand what’s happening, Peter’s instinct, probably not unlike our own, is to hold onto it as long as he can!

It reminds me of a conversation I had with Bob Rea a few months ago. You never have to wonder if Bob is listening during a sermon because after the service he always shares some thought or insight about what he heard. It’s really quite refreshing, even if what he shares challenges me from time to time.

I had just preached a sermon, and in it I talked about the Sirius XM radio subscription that came with my new car. I confessed that I had found a Contemporary Christian music station that I actually liked, explaining how uplifting the music was for me.

After the service, Bob came up to me and conveyed a cautionary note – explaining quite seriously, that while this kind of music can be inspiring, it can also be quite addictive! If we listen to is all the time, it’s intoxicating in its own way, not unlike setting up tents on the mountain top. Read the rest of this entry »

Emmaus House Episcopal Chapel, Atlanta, GA

2nd Sunday after Christmas – All Years (RCL) – Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a, Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

This was the first Christmas in my life that I was not with my family on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. For some of you that may seem unfathomable and for others you still can’t imagine what it would be like to spend Christmas without your family or that special circle of friends.

Now, that’s not to say I didn’t celebrate the holiday with my family. We are a pretty practical bunch, so since everyone was traveling to Houston for a wedding before Christmas we had our holiday meal and gift exchange a week ahead of schedule. It was a wonderful time filled with laughter.

I knew that upon my return to Atlanta I would be embarking on a Christmas of another kind… an Emmaus House Christmas! During the week I was introduced to this community’s traditions… elves of all ages wrapping and sorting gifts, decorating a tree with fruit instead of traditional ornaments, and volunteers gathering on a cold Christmas Eve morning to bring joy to many who might otherwise not have much under the Christmas tree. And although being part of this wonderful event was gratifying, it still wasn’t my Christmas tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: