Lost In The Weeds, Searching for the Barn

Matthew Chapter 13
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27″The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29″ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

I have been reading Richard Rohr’s book “Everything Belongs” over the past few days and have been really amazed by his insights. I always love it when I read or hear someone who gives me a completely different perspective on something that I felt I fully understood. The above passage in Matthew 13 is one most anyone who’s grown up in the christian world has heard and read many times. I always read it thinking that it’s some sort of explanation from Jesus that there are bad and good people in this world. A story to show us how the wheat represents the righteous and the weeds represent the wicked. But is a person only good and never bad? Does someone wicked have no goodness in them whatsoever? What does that mean for those who are both wicked and righteous and searching for “the barn”? Here’s what Rohr writes regarding this passage:

“This idea has had little effect on Western moral theology. But we are a mixture of weed and wheat and we always will be. As Luther put it, simul justus et peccator. His whole tradition said we are simultaneously saint and sinner. That’s the mystery of holding weed and wheat together in our one field of life. It takes a lot more patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love than aiming for some illusory perfection that is usually blind to its own faults. The only true perfection available to us is the honest acceptance of our imperfection. If we must have perfection to be happy with ourselves, we have only two choices. We can either blind ourselves to our own evil (and deny the weeds) or we can give up in discouragement (and deny the wheat). But if we put aside perfection and face the tension of having both, then we can hear the good news with open hearts. It takes uncommon humility to carry the dark side of things. It takes a kind of courage to carry the good side, too. Archetypically, “the crucified one” always hangs between theses two thieves-paying the price within himself just as we must do.”

Amen

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6 thoughts on “Lost In The Weeds, Searching for the Barn

  1. Are you sure your a drummer, cause you keep challenging me and stirring ideas in my head. This is an incredible teaching and I’ve got sparks flying all over from this one. You may just get quoted again someday.

  2. Great insights — another book for the wish list I guess.

    I have thought a lot over the last year of the analogy that our life is like a garden where we nurture the plants that bear fruit and get rid of the weeds. That goes well with this parable, although I never connected it before. I, like you, always thought of it as good and bad people…

  3. This idea has always struck me. It is an act of balance. Life is about balance. My husband and I did a lesson for some kids on what it meant to be gods and monsters at the same time: to recognise that we have both good and evil in us and living life in the balance of both. Great post.

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