It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Planting and Harvesting, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Go to the official UMC website, and click on the tab Our People to see the following inclusionary list:

The People of The United Methodist Church

Help people in their community

Accept you for who you are

Offer a place to belong

Care for and support each other

Show respect for other religions

Support people facing difficulty

Welcome diverse opinions and beliefs

Guide others to find deeper meaning

As I read this list, I feel good about the Methodist Church. I want to be the kind of person that helps, accepts, cares for, supports, welcomes, and guides. Is anything on this list in conflict with the parable describing the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13:24-30? When Matthew was telling the church not to get so upset about weeds, was he assuring the church of his time that God would pull the weeds. Or, was he aware that we might not be able to distinguish between good plants and bad ones? Or, is each of us a hybrid plant that needs to have the weed-part extracted from us?

In 13:24-30, Jesus is speaking to the crowd, telling them a parable. In 36-43, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, inside the house, responding to their request to explain the parable.

Even those closest to Jesus don't immediately get everything he is saying.

Being in the house enables a disciple to get closer to Jesus, that is, ask for explanation.
They can't stay in the house. The field is in the world.

Jesus tells them about the furnace of fire.

If we are accustomed to making distinctions between the OT God and the NT God, we need to remind ourselves of this passage and try to think where eternal punishment is mentioned in the OT.

The kingdom is on the earth.

The evildoers will be taken away; the righteous will be left to shine like the sun.

Why is it helpful to us to know that the wicked will be punished?

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