Leave the Weeds
Matthew 13.31, 44 The kingdom of heaven is like this ...
thought I might look at the issue of salvation for this Sunday - so I am
sorry if it turns into a Pentecostal bashing exercise.
I get so sick of their smug
certainty over their own and others' salvation. So its time to get my
clubs out again. I got told off by a parishioner the other day because I
bash them too much and I must agree perhaps there are some nice ones
However, its their niceness that is
sometimes the problem. Another parishioner was sad the other day and after
some prying by me, she said that she felt so unworthy because a good
Christian friend had said in a letter to her that she had missed the boat
to the kingdom of God and that therefore she was destined for hell. Its so
hard to convince some that such people are not nice Christians. They are
sinister people out desperately to exert their own power through the
domination of others.
I used to get so angry, that I left
scripture out of most of my discussions. But I think Bishop John Spong is
right. He says we need to rescue the myths and stories of our faith
journey from the hands of our fundamentalist brothers and sisters, and
restore them to their proper place.
Today's parables are great for reaffirming the
importance of not judging each other so harshly as to who will or will not
make it into heaven. It's a way we Christians exercise power over others
in a kind of humble, nice way. We have become very good at smiling at some
to their face whilst reaching for the appropriate knife to get them when
they least expect it (aren't we nice!- not).
First, we hear that the kingdom is not so clear and
that it needs to be searched for and discovered. And second, when we do
get a glimpse of it we will want to be part of it no matter what it
No doubt the early Christians were also preoccupied with the question who
had made it and who hadn't.
Their questions are answered when they are told to
leave the weeds and let them grow up alongside the wheat. In other words,
stop trying to answer the stupid and unanswerable questions of the faith.
Instead, preoccupy yourself with looking for the kingdom that's somewhere
around close at hand.
Stop wasting time and resume our acts of kindness to
each other, our generosity, our mercy, our forgiveness and our humility. I
reckon when we are doing these types of things we have begun to unearth
the great treasure.
As to whether some will be burnt with the chaff in the
big fire - I really don't know.
For me God cannot be an unconditional lover if she
would let some burn if they so choose. It's in this passage I feel another
The treasure, when found, will be so wonderful that we
will all want it desperately.
I like what was said in the Church Dogmatics paper from
the Vatican II Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It affirmed that
those who had begun to search for meaning in their lives - or in the words
of Paul Tillich, had begun to discover their "depth of being" - were
already on the road to salvation.
Indeed Tillich went on to say that if this were so he
doubted very much if there was anyone you could call an atheist because we
have all at some time or other asked the deep questions of our own being.
So maybe we do have a choice. But the kingdom is so
wonderful that none of us choose not to have it.