|Pentecost 20, Year A||October 18, 2020||Pentecost 20, Proper 24, Year A||I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Psalm 96|
|Pentecost 19, Year A||October 11, 2020||Pentecost 19, Proper 23, Year A||Philippians 4:1-9|
|Pentecost 18, Year A||October 4, 2020||Pentecost 18, Year A||Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-14, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46|
|Pentecost 17, Year A – Elizabeth Heimbach||September 27, 2020||Pentecost 17, Proper 21 Year A||Matthew 21:23-32|
|Pentecost 16, Year A||September 20, 2020||Pentecost 16, Proper 20, Year A 2020 The Season of Creation||Matthew 20:1-16|
|Pentecost 15, Year A||September 13, 2020||Pentecost 15, Proper 19||Genesis 50:15-21, Matthew 18:21-35|
|Pentecost 14, Year A||September 6, 2020||Pentecost 14, Proper 18, Year A||Ezekiel 33:7-11, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20|
|Pentecost 13, Year A||August 30, 2020||Pentecost, 13, Proper 17, Year A||Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28|
|Pentecost 12, Year A||August 23, 2020||Pentecost 12, , Proper 16, Year A||Isaiah 51:1-6, Ps 138, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20|
|Pentecost 11, Year A||August 16, 2020||Pentecost 11, Proper 15, Year A||Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Matthew 15:10-28|
|Pentecost 10, Year A||August 9, 2020||Pentecost 10, Proper 14, Year A||I Kings 19:9-18, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33|
|Pentecost 9, Year A||August 2, 2020||Pentecost 9, Proper 13, Year A||Psalm 145:8-9, 15-22; Matthew 14:13-21|
|Pentecost 8, Year A||July 26, 2020||Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 12, 2020||Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52|
|➤Pentecost 7, Year A||July 19, 2020||Pentecost 7, Proper 11, Year A||Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43|
|Pentecost 6, Year A – Evening||July 12, 2020||Pentecost 6, Proper 10, Year A||Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23|
Pentecost 7, Year A
Sermon Date:July 19, 2020
Scripture: Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43
Liturgy Calendar: Pentecost 7, Proper 11, Year A
In today’s reading from Romans, the Apostle Paul says that “When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…”
What good news!
We’ve been adopted by God!
And because we are God’s adopted children, inheriting God’s kingdom equally along with Jesus himself, we get to call out to God by crying “Abba! Father!” a very intimate way to address God.
In his book, The Challenge of Jesus, John Shea says that “Abba” is a word that can be traced right back to the historical Jesus and so has a special place in our Christian vocabulary. “Abba” is a term that is full of tenderness and intimacy. In a time when some would not even speak the name of God for fear of profaning it, to call God Abba would have been a scandal and a shock.
Shea says that “Abba is the Christian symbol for God who is the ultimate power of human life, the ultimate power whom we trust, and who trusts us with the future of the earth and of our neighbor.”
Think about it. When I call out to God as Abba, I am calling out to God in trust.
I’m trusting that Abba is the parent who brings the possibilities of new life to birth for me and for each one of us adopted children, and is constantly renewing these possibilities of new life.
The parable that Jesus tells today about the kingdom of God being like a field in which wheat and weeds grow together is a parable about trust—our trust for God as Abba and God’s trust for us as beloved children.
Here’s what I hear Jesus saying about our trust in God in this parable. Listen for what you hear about trust too, and we can talk about that at the end of the sermon.
In the parable Jesus tells, the kingdom field contains not only the wheat, but also the weeds.
What to do? One response is to pull up what seem to be the weeds, and to rid the field of the bad so that the good can grow more fully.
Another response is to trust God to manage the weeds.
When the slaves ask the sower about what to do with the weeds, the sower says to let the wheat and the weeds grow together, and then at the harvest, the reapers will harvest the wheat and store it, and they’ll bundle and burn the weeds.
To accept this plan is to trust in Abba God as the one who is in control. This trust in God then gives us the power to claim the creative lives that God intends for us, trusting God even when God does not intervene in the moment when the weeds grow and threaten to overwhelm us.
We trust that God gives us the power to live creatively in this world, in the field of the kingdom where the good and bad grow together, and to thrive, even though life in that field can be unmanageable and confusing.
This parable also has something to say about God’s trust in us.
God plants us in the field of the world and then trusts us to grow into people who will care for the future of both the earth, and to care for the long term well being of one another.
God trusts us, as beloved children, to be able to grow faithfully even among the weeds.
God provides us with help–the Spirit of God, who bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed children of God. Trusting in the fact that we are God’s beloved children opens us to the graceful work of the Spirit in our lives. We find with the help of the Spirit that our desire is to be obedient, and to live faithfully.
Our faithful obedience to God is full, rich, and teeming with life. We get to affirm our status as God’s beloved children again and again in the series of choices that confront us through our lives when we find ourselves caught up in or surrounded by or choked by the weeds growing alongside us in the field. Committed, faithful obedience to God helps us to choose life, even in death dealing situations.
God also trusts us to be people of hope. Our hope in God is part of our inheritance as children of God. As children of God, we can’t help but be full and overflowing with hope. The field may be full of weeds now, but the harvest will come.
Paul defines our hope as an eager longing for the day when we will be set free from the bondage to decay (that is, the weeds) and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
You have heard me talk many times about the fact that we live in the now of God’s kingdom here on earth, while we wait expectantly for and look with longing for God’s reign to be fully realized here—for the harvest to happen, for all to be once more right with the world as God has intended from the beginning.
Paul reminds us that being patient is a part of being hopeful about the future. God trusts us to be patient as we wait for God to fully reveal God’s glory here on earth. Prayer, time spent in the presence of Abba God, who relentlessly trusts in us, then gives us patience to trust God, to trust God’s timing, and to trust God’s plans even when we can’t see what those plans are or know the timing. Patience and prayer and patience in prayer are part of hoping for what God has in store—the harvest, the reconciliation, and the peace in the field, the evil at last gone.
So God trusts us to grow by being faithful and obedient to God. God trusts us to be people of hope in God. God trusts us to be people of patience with God, and with one another too.
Here’s the last thing I’ll mention today that God trusts us, the beloved children of God, to be.
God trusts us, as we grow, to be the signs of God’s glory realized on this earth, the markers of God’s reign already here, just as Jesus was that sign and marker when he was here on this earth—the kingdom of God has drawn near—may people see the kingdom of God drawing near as they watch and observe us, as they are with us.
To be a sign of God’s glory on this earth is to treat our brothers and sisters as God does—as God’s beloved children. We don’t choose our brothers and sisters—God does. And so a sign of God’s glory already present on this earth is when we love one another as God has loved us, when we love one another to the end, when we wash one another’s feet and serve and love one another, when we work for justice and reconciliation and peace, even when the weeds grow high and tall.
As time has passed, we have also come to realize what St Francis knew, that the created order is also God’s beloved child, and our brother and sister, and that our work for justice and healing for the earth and God’s creatures is a vital part of being a sign of God’s glory on this earth.
At the end of today’s gospel, Jesus says that when God’s reign is fully on this earth, then the righteous will shine like the sun!
God trusts us to be the righteous ones who shine like the sun!
God trusts us to shine in faithful obedience. God trusts us to shine with patient hope, God trusts us to shine with reconciling love for one another and for all of creation.
God trusts us to be beloved children.
We are shining even now as we trust God and wait with patience and cry out to our beloved Abba to set us and creation free.
And we shine with thanksgiving. We call out to you and we thank you, Abba God, with all our hearts, and glorify your name for evermore.
Reference: Shea, John. The Challenge of Jesus. Chicago, IL Thomas Moore Press. Encore Edition, 1984.