Sixth Sunday after Trinity
By Fiona Pennie
I wonder during this time of lockdown have you felt closer to God or further away?We gather to worship…and before we do pause and reflect..what has it been like on our own? Not gathering to be the body of Christ…has it helped…or hindered or somewhere in the middle?
Has not being able to go into church to pray freed you up to meet God in the paths hedgerows and wildlife, as St Francis would suggest, or have you felt far removed from God and struggling to connect with him?
I don’t know about you but I have not managed to do so many things I though I would ‘get round to’ during this time of lockdown. Worry, anxiety, busyness, apathy, have all meant that I haven’t ‘achieved’ as much as I might have expected or hoped.
I thought I might have found time to read my bible more, or spent more time praying…but I didn’t.
I did find time in those early days to get out in the garden and do some weeding though…and the garden does look better for it.
So lockdown has helped the garden look better and the veg and fruit more bountiful..tried one year leaving the weeds..not such good crop..it makes sense…
I hope you had chance to hear Bruce’s sermon last week which was based on the Sower sowing the seeds. I find I learn much from the picture of seeds sown on rocky ground, paths, and fertile ground, and Bruce lead us to look again at how we might picture ourselves in the parable.
This week is not so easy Jesus explains the parable in white black and white terms..the weeds are evil people, the wheat good people..both occur in life…don’t worry because God will judge…BUT..this seems to be at odds with last weeks parable which is much more nuanced. The danger can be that in reading just a small section of one passage which get the wrong end of the stick…am I good or evil..am I a wheat or a weed??
It is always good when looking at any passage to stay rooted in some wider Gospel truths namely that God loves each of us and he made all of us in his image.
So from that knowledge for me the picture we have this week from the Gospel of wheat and weeds growing together reminds us that we are each children of God. He understands that whilst the weeds might hinder our growth it is more important to let us grow. He loves each of His children and recognises that we will be effected by sin and evil , but he will rescue us in the end. We live in a world that is not so back and white but somewhere in the middle..need to confess our sins, to understand ourselves..to keep growing in that understanding, spiritually. To nurture our roots and part of paying attention to our spiritual lives is of course to keep weeding out the things that don't help us!
Jacob, in our Genesis passage, is on the move and far away from any recognisable Holy Place and there he has a dream of a ladder going to heaven. When he wakes up he realises he has met with God even in this most unlikely of places.
The message God has for Jacob is the same for us;
“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
So do not be worried if in this time of Covid19 God has seemed distant, He is still there. However I would recommend a bit of weeding and praying because it will help us recognise God in our lives.