In the name of our One, Holy, and Living God, Who draws us into community, calls us to be One, and Who loves us all.
Jesus once again centers the story about the kingdom of heaven, to display how on earth we build our community, as the kingdom of heaven has been revealed to us. It’s not going to be easy because we work hard like the workers in the field trying to make things better, to make things just, and to be filled with love. That’s the seed we are sowing with our lives. But there is a darkness, isn’t there? Sometimes in the light of day there is still a darkness. It is caused by evil like the weeds in the fields, and sometimes that evil is in the heart of someone else, and other times it is within our own heart. Evil is so horrible we often can only relate to that evil, as coming from beyond ourselves as like a devil, out there.
When we drill into the earth to find oil, no one intends to pollute the groundwater to make our drinking water unsafe, but when that is the result, the water is polluted with evil. If our intention is to continue to spread that evil without making amends, whether you are a business owner, manager, politician, or voter, that evil is within us. So Jesus was not imagining a man with horns with skin on fire and a pointed tail. Yes, evil is sharp like the point, yes, evil can burn us to destruction, and yes, evil can gore us to death, yet evil is not always out there, or from some supernatural being, it is often from within us.
Today we call out of our weakness to ask for compassion. We are found to be unworthy for what we have done and left undone. We call in our blindness to that Wisdom that leads us to be better people. Jesus tells these stories about building the kingdom of heaven, because it is not here yet. We continue to build. Jesus seems to always raise up the poor before our eyes as evidence that the kingdom has not arrived, it is not yet in your community or mine, it cannot rest in our homes, but that day may come. That day may come because we are going to keep on working in the fields of life to bring that kingdom home. We are the Jesus people with love in our hearts.
Some of you know I have volunteered for the YWCA here in Harrisburg for the past five years, and I could not help but be struck by the story in the news this past week of domestic violence in our community. Domestic violence is an evil, and we all must bear the burden to put out that fire. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, has an office not far from here on Linglestown Road. They state plainly, you cannot end domestic violence without eliminating racism. The mission of the YWCA where I have poured my heart and soul into these past 5 years has a mission statement that begins with these words, “Eliminating racism”. Racism we may agree is evil, but it is going to take work to remove the weeds, and make the ground fertile again, it is going to take work to make the water less polluted. We cannot raise up the poor, Jesus’ mission, without our work of eliminating the evil of racism in our time. Let us gather with our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry who has called us to witness to our love supporting the Episcopalians for a Poor People’s Campaign with an event in DC August 20. That is Good News, as we may stand amidst the weeds of life today, but for tomorrow we are building a kingdom for all God’s people.
May it be so.