Friday, July 28, 2017

The Parable Of The Terrible Tares

"While everyone was asleep, someone sowed weed seeds 
among the wheat."
One of last Sunday's scripture texts included Jesus's story of someone planting a field of wheat, then having an enemy sow noxious weed seeds in that field while the farmer slept.

When the owner of the field was asked by his servants whether they should root out the unwanted weeds he told them to wait for the harvest to separate the good from the bad.

In explaining the parable's meaning, Jesus says the field is the world, the wheat represents God's people and the weeds, evildoers. Let them both grow together, he said, until God separates them at the last judgment.

This passage has been a source of confusion for those who assume this means that the church therefore exercises no discernment as to who is a follower of Jesus and who is not. This would contradict what is taught in passages like Matthew 18 and other texts which counsel us to meet with a erring person privately to bring about restoration, then if needed take another caring person with us to make another appeal, then involve the whole congregation if necessary to discern whether that person is to remain loved and cared for as a member or to be loved and re-evangelized equally warmly as an outsider. The church continues to love and care in either case.

But this parable is not about the church but about the world. In other words, followers of Jesus are not to go about seeking and destroying God's enemies, going after unbelievers or persecuting members of ISIS or others who are clearly living in ways that are counter to the life and teachings of Jesus. Let God be the judge of all outsiders, Jesus is saying, meanwhile we are to go about the business of simply being a faithful community of Jesus followers.

The field is the world.
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