7/24/2011 sermon: Be a weed-seed!

Location: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Burke, VA
Text: Matthew 13:31-33,44-52
Proper 12, Year A

Be a weed-seed!

In tonight’s gospel lesson Jesus uses a series of short parables to tell us about the Kingdom of God. He tells us what the Kingdom of God is like, rather than what the Kingdom of God is.

  • The Kingdom of God, Jesus says, is LIKE a mustard seed, a teeny tiny seed that grows into a big weed, a big weed that gives shelter to those who come and rest in it. From this we learn that the Kingdom of God starts out small—with only one person in it, one person named Jesus, who is God-made-flesh. And, weed-seed by weed-seed, the Kingdom grows and transforms our world into God’s vision of what his creation should be. You and I are fellow weed-seeds, seemingly insignificant by ourselves and unable to change anything, let alone the whole world. And yet, haven’t Jesus’ disciples been doing exactly that in every age since Jesus showed us how? We are God’s agents for transforming our broken selves and our broken world into the Kingdom of God,
  • The Kingdom of God, Jesus says, is like yeast, something not previously associated with the holy. Do you remember? Holy bread was unleavened bread, bread which contained no yeast. Under the Old Law, yeast was thought of as something like a contaminant, something that made holy bread bad. In that way we are yeast. But here Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like yeast, something small that when combined with the holy bread, can create something vastly new and different than what existed before.

I’ll let you ponder the meaning of the rest of these “Kingdom of God” parables because I want to share the “so what.” Now that we know what the Kingdom of God is like, what difference does it make in our lives?

From the weed-seed and the unholy-yeast, we can start to see the Kingdom of God through Jesus’ eyes: one person can make a difference, when that person is aligned with and acting as an agent of God in our broken world. Obviously, the more that we weed-seeds act together to do God’s work in our world—the more that we yeast-bits act together—the more the Kingdom of God is created here on earth.

The great thing about St. Andrew’s is that our parish offers us many opportunities to be weed-seeds for God.

  • Our teens returned today from a work-camp trip to West Virginia, where they joined other teens from churches of many denominations around the country, to build and repair houses for people who have no money.
  • Right here in our own neighborhoods we collect and prepare food for helping-hands organizations, we teach English as a Second Language, build homes for families who need them, and we participate in many other such efforts, either as individuals or as part of a group from St. Andrew’s. In short, we do the work to build the Kingdom of God.

We are very busy weed-seeds. But the most important thing about all this Kingdom-of-God work is that we know why we do it, not just because we are good people doing good. The truth is more startling: We are weeds unless or until we begin doing God’s work in our world, helping to transform our world into the Kingdom of God and being ourselves transformed in the process.

I speak in the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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