Of Weeds And Grain

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Occasionally we hear a profound truth or sermon that speaks to us so intensely that it remains with us for life. On last Sunday I visited a church (not an AME Church and not my own) where I was a member of the choir for more than 30 years. The sermon was taken from the Lectionary Reading of he Day, Matthew 13:24-29, 36-43 (Parable of the Wheat and the Tares) and was entitled, "Good Soil, Good Seed and Weeds Everywhere."

This was so much in line with what I needed to hear that I have spent the entire week reflecting on it, reading more about it and examining it from every angle. A few of the points from my own reflection I would like to share here.

1) Many of us, including myself, often spend a lot of time sweating, toiling, digging and pulling weeds. But the comforting thing here and one that we would do well to learn is that Jesus said, "Leave the Weeds alone."

2) Lest we think that something has gone awry because we have made little or no progress against the tares, we can take heart and find much comfort in these words. Jesus' own words tell us that the weeds will always remain and that they are so closely entangled and entwined with the wheat that to uproot them would also endanger the ultimate survival and the fruitful ears of the wheat.

3) This Parable gives us proof of why we should never lift a Scriptural passage or verse out of the context in which it is written. For, if we interpreted it on the Parable of the Sower which immediately precedes it and appears to be much the same, we would be wrong indeed as the symbols and ideas are entirely different as Jesus, himself explained them to be.

4) When in doubt ask Jesus to explain. The Apostles did just that and got an answer.

5) We have been taught that every AME should possess and use the Bible, The Discipline and the Hymnbook. In exploring this parable I have found this admonition to be exactly on target. To abandon either is to loose much. Especially in light of the fact that many feel it no longer fashionable to sing hymns. Replacing hymns with praise songs and upbeat tunes have sometimes caused us to lose the profound truths and theological concepts which hymns teach. Since hymns are theologically sound, this parable and its theological concepts are taught to us in AMEC Hymn #574 -- "Come Ye Thankful People, Come."

6) Thus having examined the Bible, the Hymnal and the Discipline, I find it interesting that neitherseems to support the modern-day popular notion of "Those Left Behind".

SaintPaul wrote, " We shall be changeD in a moment, in the twinlking of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET".

A careful examination of this Parable, in Jesus' own words and interpretation state that BOTH the wheat and the tares shall remain until the harvest. But in the Harvest, He states, that HE shall give His angels charge to gather the WEEDS first and bind them up to be cast in the lake of fire. Then they will gather "the FRUITFUL EARS --who will be gathered secondly and thus will be the ones left behind--to store in his garner evermore!"

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2002



Thanks for your timely note and thoughtful reflections. Have you by chance reviewed the new African American Hymnal? One of the editors is Dr. Delores Carpenter who happens to serve as pastor for a Congregational Church in North East Wash DC and Professor of Homiletics at the Howard University Divinity School. I've known her and her husband for close to 20 years. I'm sure she would appreciate your insightful contributions in the area of sacred music. By the way, the church that you visited wouldn't be that historic Baptist congregation on Auburn Ave in Atlanta and home to America's premier 20th century prophet MLK, Jr.? QED

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2002

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