Thursday, 21 September 2023

It's there. Look closely.

I don’t know exactly why there’s ten Commandments or why those ten are the ones. It seems to me there are some other things that ought to have been included, but I wasn’t there at the time, so I didn’t have a say. Anyway, I don’t know for sure, but I have an idea.

I also don’t know if they were handed to Moses by God the way the movie “The Ten Commandments” shows it, with the fiery finger of God writing on tablets of stone while Charlton Heston stands trembling nearby. Maybe Moses was inspired by the Spirit to carve them or maybe it’s just a great story about how the people received some really great sayings in a way that prompted them to consider them “cast in stone.” Like I said, I don’t know for sure, but I have an idea.

What’s most prompted my thinking this week isn’t even the perspective of what’s there. Rather, it’s what isn’t. Simply put, I have this question: why isn’t one of the original Ten Commandments “thou shalt not hate?” Seems to me we could use a little direction on that right now.

Thing is, what I do know is that’s exactly what the Hebrews were getting out there in the wilderness, a little direction. To Jews, they’re ten sayings or ten words. They weren’t called “commandments” until the Geneva Bible in the 16th century. Then the King James Version picked it up and it became, as it were, cast in stone and, since then, the common way to refer to them. But they’re not orders or regulations, they’re wise sayings that are about how to live well together. To be clear, they’re not about behaviour, but about living. As will be said many times later, what’s important is what’s at the heart of them.

Life. That’s what’s at the heart. And what gives life: love, grace, respect, kindness, honour, trust, justice. These are the things that give life. Hate is destructive. It breaks things. It breaks people and relationships. It breaks wonder and imagination, creativity and construction. It corrodes living things. So, again, why isn’t there a “thou shalt not hate?”

Well. There is. At the heart of things. Take away all the “thou shalt nots” (there’s a lot of those) and the “thou shalts” and at the heart of things is what gives life. From the very beginning, God gives life. However you know God - God is the name I’ll use - God is the source of life, the spirit of creation. God is the energy of being. God is love and all those other things that bring life. So, right from the start, these ten sayings begin with “there is God” and then speak of our relationship with God. There’s one God, don’t try and replace God with idols, be sure to take sabbath time to rest with God.

Then, what gives life to our relationships with each other and the world around us. Take “you shall not murder,” for example. We can parse that to death and argue about kill versus murder and what’s justifiable and all, but what’s the positive expression of that? It’s “love life, honour it and keep it safe.” That’s the heart of it.

The point of the ten sayings is to provide a framework for a lost and broken people to renew and rebuild themselves into a community, to give them a new life together in relationship with the source of life, with each other and with themselves. Love does that.

Thursday, 14 September 2023

What's in it for me?

Perhaps I’m being cynical.

In fact, it’s pretty much the dictionary definition of cynical, but it sure seems to be a pretty common theme these days: what’s in it for me? It may be subtle, it may even be stated, but the tendency to individualism and what we can get from life for ourselves seems to pervade a lot of things. So often success seems to hinge on what can be acquired, how much of it and at what little cost.

I wonder if it wasn’t a fractured, individual centred world that became so broken that it inspired the story of Noah. Remember the story from Genesis? God decides the world is too evil, too broken to fix in any other way, so God decides to wipe it all away in a great flood, saving one family and two of every animal in order to start again.

You may remember it differently. We tend to make it a story for Sunday school children, a story of cuddly animals all warm and cozy on an ark, getting along just fine and floating on a gentle sea. The sun comes out, they all get off the ark in a green and pleasant land and everything is just great again under a rainbow.

Except it isn’t. And that’s not how the story really goes. It’s horrific, brutal and disturbing and, in the end, the passengers in the ark disembark with only a promise of a new creation. But it’s a huge promise: a covenant with God.

God blesses the family of Noah and, as one would expect, encourages them to be fruitful and multiply. God promises that this great destruction of creation won’t happen again and offers the promise of life and God’s presence in it always and forever. And God makes this covenant with all living things. Yes, don’t forget that part: all living things. The symbol of that covenant is a rainbow and God promises to remember the covenant each time it appears.

I think that’s the really meaningful part of the story. God offers a covenant. Not a deal or a contract, or a treaty or an agreement, or a bargain or an arrangement. None of those things. A covenant. What could that mean for us today?

What if we could understand that the point of the covenant is what it creates? It’s not about the individual party or the return on their investment. Rather, each party to the covenant brings themselves to it, all that they are, and helps create a new thing: a community, a wholeness to which everyone belongs, from which everyone benefits, and through which everyone can live and thrive.

The story tells what God brings to the covenant. But what does the rest of creation bring? What do we bring? God offers God’s true self: life. Doesn’t creation, too? Couldn’t we offer our true selves? Remember, what was carried by the ark through to the new creation is that we are created of the divine spirit, in the image of God. Like all that was created, we too are good.

The rainbow calls us to remember that. It’s a sign of diversity and inclusivity, of the connectedness of all things, of the wholeness of all that is. It’s not just seven colours, but every shade of the spectrum, seen and unseen, connected to each other in one great community.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

A Leap of Faith

The Fall. That's what most Christian traditions call the story in Genesis when all is perfect in creation until the devil, disguised as a snake, convinces Eve to eat the apple from the forbidden tree of knowledge. Eve gives into the temptation and then seduces Adam into eating it, too, and before you know it, they're naked and ashamed and on their way out of the Garden of Eden. It's the Original Sin, the one that establishes our guilty, sinful nature, the one that casts us out from the perfectness of Eden into, well, whatever this is. The sin that makes the sacrifice of Jesus necessary. And, don’t forget, it's all the woman's fault.

Or so we’ve been told. Is that really how the story goes? Is that what it means? Or is that the doctrine talking? That's centuries of  "Christian" interpretation and church teaching that emphasizes temptation, sin, guilt, fear and all those great things, not to mention the patriarchal society of the church founders.

Maybe it's time, like it has become so often, to revisit the story, not the interpretation.  What if The Fall wasn't a fall at all, but a Leap? A Leap of Faith.

The story doesn't make the snake the devil, for starters, nor is the snake evil, just crafty or cunning (and not necessarily in a bad way). At most, the snake is a “satan” in the traditional biblical sense, that is, it’s a tempter. The snake makes a case for eating the fruit. Eve considers it and makes a reasoned decision. "She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate" (Gen. 3:6). There's no seduction, no coercion. Adam makes a choice, too. And their choices bring them awareness. It also brought them some fear, but was it fear that they'd done something wrong or were they simply afraid and anxious in that way we all are when something is suddenly different and the future becomes unknown and unpredictable?

Those choices have consequences, but I can't help wondering that God knew what was going on all along. Maybe we needed to acquire freewill, maybe we already had it, but we needed to use it in a way that had consequences in order to grow. And God wants us to grow.

What if, Adam and Eve being created in the image of God and of the earth, God provided the opportunity for them to make a choice - their own choice - one that was a leap of faith into their own being? What if God wasn’t afraid of them becoming self aware, but God inspired it? Maybe Eden wasn't "lost," it was left, maybe even out grown, so that we could have a garden of our own and participate in this creation, freely, experiencing life. And death. And love and fear, temptation and grace, sorrow and joy.

What if the story is just that, a story. The truth that’s at its heart is that we are of God and the earth, that we have our own garden to live in and the choices we make can either distance us from God or bring us closer to God - the source of life, the spirit of being, the love of relationship. We’ve struggled with that, with what might be good choices, and we’ve moved further away from the God, the source of life. We’ve even neglected the sacredness of our own garden and our relationship with it.

So along comes Jesus - and others, too - showing us how to embrace the divine again, to honour the earthly, to live in love. Leap or fall, that’s where I’d like to land.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

A Symbol of Something More

Imagine, for a minute, that you’re Jesus.

Now, I know that I frequently talk about how we are Jesus, that the spirit of Jesus is alive in the world because it’s alive in us. I’ve said the life of Jesus is meant to show us how the divine spirit and earthly humanity that is Jesus is in all of us, and Jesus is showing us how to reconnect with the divine spirit and live it into the world. I even called it “Jesusing” because Jesus is a verb. I’ve talked about that at length elsewhere, but that’s not what I mean this time.

Imagine you’re Jesus back in the day. Imagine the world of Jesus, if you can, that would have been challenging, to say the least. A 1st century life wouldn’t have been easy to live in that part of the world. Roman oppression was just the cap on an already difficult life. Jesus spent his time with the marginalized, those who found themselves broken and hurting, the poor and sick, struggling through each day. And don’t forget the sinners. Jesus spent a lot of time with people judged by religion and society to be cast out for their sins, whatever those sins maybe.

So you collect around you a small group of ordinary, everyday people who live in that world. They follow you, learn from you and work with you, even live with you. And then, one day, you ask them “who do you say that I am?” One of them answers “you’re the messiah, the son of the living God.”

Okay, so they’ve learned something. This is great, so you go on to explain what’s happening next, how it’s going to be a tough road ahead, people will turn away from your message of love and grace, and the religious authorities, in particular, will feel so threatened, they’ll have you killed. And then, just when you thought they understood you were the messiah, that same follower tries to rein you in and stop you from what you’re doing. Sigh. It’s like he got the label right, but not the content.

Look, you say, it’s a real temptation to be that old-time messiah that raises an army, goes to war, overthrows the oppressor, defeats all our enemies and makes the country great again, just like in the good old days, but that’s not what this messiah brings. This isn’t about the power of one, but of everyone, it’s not about power over, but power with, it’s about relationship, not control. And that journey’s going to be challenging, there’ll be struggles and suffering and hurt, just like life, but it will be worth it because we’ll be doing it together. We’ll build community, with love and grace, and it’ll be just like … it’ll be just like heaven on earth.

Now. You think, what’s a good symbol of that journey? Something heavy and awkward, something that’s difficult to carry, something representing the burdens of this life that we can overcome together, something so dark and sinister that it will represent all that love can overcome, because the love that is God can even outlast death. So you say, look, it’s like carrying a cross. Yes, I know it’s a symbol of the worst that our oppressors can do. But we can carry it together, we can make the burdens lighter and make a better world and we can do it together. Together. 

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Who do you say I am?

There’s a Jesus meme that’s been going around for awhile. I don’t know for how long or where it came from originally. It sometimes has different pictures, but always Jesus and a group of people. The text goes like this.

And Jesus said to the theologians, “Who do you say that I am?”

They replied, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma of which we find the ultimate meaning in our interpersonal relationships.”

And Jesus said, “… What?”

Sorry theologians, no offence meant. It’s just a funny take on that scene in the gospels when Jesus asks the disciples who people say he is. They have a few answers - John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets - and then Jesus asks them who they say he is. Peter answers that he’s the messiah. Jesus blesses him for giving the right answer, there are fireworks, a marching band plays, there’s confetti and a parade. 

Kidding. That’s as ridiculous as the joke about the the theologians. Jesus does seem to indicate that he’s right, but there’s none of the other stuff. 

I wonder, though, if Peter’s anymore “right” with his answer than the theologians. We certainly celebrate him as giving the correct answer, divinely inspired and all, but there ought to be a followup question, just like with the theologians: what do you mean by that, Peter?

In Jesus’ day, as today, there likely would have been some very different ideas of what the messiah would look like, sound like and act like. Maybe the reason the people thought he was John or the return of Elijah or one of the prophets was because they recognized that in him. He looked and sounded like them, or at least the stories they knew about them, and they found that familiar. For many, it’s likely that Jesus didn’t act like the messiah they’d learned to expect, if, indeed, they’d learned exactly what the messiah would be. Some would have expected a warrior leading an army, some a great king, some may even have hoped for a humble, peaceful, inspired preacher who taught love and lived everything he taught. The point is, “messiah” is just a label until you unpack it.

And how do you? I think that’s one of the great things about this story. I imagine Jesus asking the disciples what others are saying and the disciples are happy to answer what they’ve heard. After all, they’re simply reporting what they’d been told. But then, Jesus asks what they think. I bet there was quiet for a minute or two, maybe a few sideways glances, pensive looks, maybe even a few incomplete sentences as they try to formulate an answer. And then Peter answers “the messiah.” Imagine Jesus then saying “what does that mean to you, Peter?”

I think that’s the question for all of us. Sure, we know what others have said, what we’ve been told, even what we learned in Sunday School or Bible Study, and we for sure know what Peter answered. But ultimately, we need to ask ourselves the same question: who do I think Jesus is? And if your answer is the messiah, then what does that mean to you?

I wonder. If Jesus had asked Peter what “messiah” means to him, I wonder what he would have said. Whatever answer he gave, I bet Jesus just said “okay, I’ll show you. Watch and learn.”

Thursday, 17 August 2023

The Jesus You Know

I call it “the stained glass Jesus.”

You probably know what I mean. The Jesus that appeared in old stained glass windows, solemnly looking ahead or with eyes raised heavenward or benevolently gazing  at the disciples or some other biblical character. A mostly benign figure, unsmiling, but still kindly, the very essence of divine perfectness. The Jesus that goes so well with soaring arches, high ceilings, polished wood and tall spires. The Jesus of tradition. The Jesus who reminds us of where we’re going (we hope).

There's nothing wrong with that Jesus. I love that Jesus. He speaks to me. Sometimes.

But I also love the very human Jesus who I think laughed and played, probably told a good joke, smiled a lot and wasn't always perfect. To me, that Jesus — down to earth, rough and unpolished, flawed and conflicted — goes well with the world we live in.

I love that Jesus. He speaks to me.

This is the Jesus in Matthew 15:21-28 who tries his best to ignore a Canaanite woman pleading for help, and then, when she won’t go away, he informs her that he's not here for her, he's here for “the lost sheep of Israel.” It’s not fair to take the children’s food and feed it to dogs, he says. Yes, Jesus said that, according to Matthew. Apparently short-tempered and exclusive, this Jesus doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with her.  So she points out that even the dogs get crumbs from their master's table. All she wants is what might be a "crumb" to Jesus, the healing of her daughter. Jesus acknowledges her faith and heals her daughter.

Now, before you’re tempted to dismiss this as “not the Jesus I know,” fake news or, worse, justification for excluding others (definitely not any Jesus I know), consider why the author of Matthew might think their audience needed to hear this kind of a story.

Connect this scene with the one before it, in which Jesus challenges the pharisees' criticism of the disciples not observing the appropriate cleanliness rituals. It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but the words that come out of it, he says, challenging both tradition itself and the use of it to hurt and exclude. Then Matthew gives us a demonstration of that by having Jesus cruelly reject this woman's pleas just because she’s Canaanite, a traditional enemy of Jews. Matthew wanted their audience to feel the hurt of the woman, and they would have. And her power, too.

The point isn’t just the action, but the result: Jesus learns. And if the very human Jesus can learn that God is for everyone, then why shouldn’t you and I? The crowds have followed him everywhere, the pharisees challenge and test him, there are so many sick to heal. And there are the prejudices and traditions he grew up with as "a good and faithful Jew." If Jesus can learn and grow, then so can we, can't we?

Sometimes you have to break a window to be able to see clearly.

Thursday, 10 August 2023

A Greater Miracle

Three of the gospels tell a story about Jesus walking on the water. I wonder if it might have gone like this.

It was a dark and stormy night … 

Jesus had seen the clouds moving in while they were having supper. It’d been a long day and the crowd that had been following him had stopped for something to eat. It was an outdoor meal, a simple one, a potluck with bread and fish and whatever else anyone had. But Jesus was tired. He decided to send the disciples on ahead, taking a boat to cross the lake to the other side. If they left now, they might beat the storm that was coming, and Jesus would have enough time to say a few last goodbyes, have a rest and walk around the lake in the morning.

Things don’t always go according to plan.

It was the thunder that woke Jesus up. The wind was pulling at his coat and the rain had just started. As he looked out on the lake with the first light of morning, he could see the wind picking up the waves. It would be a rough crossing. He could just make out a few boats, fighting the storm. There, at the front, were the disciples. He wasn’t much of a sailor, but he could see they were in trouble. There must be something he could do.

Meanwhile, the disciples were wishing they’d walked, too. The water was rough and dangerous and the storm was battering them from every side. Even the most experienced fishermen among them was afraid. And then one of them saw a figure out on the water, coming towards them. It seemed to be a person, not in a boat, but on the waves, climbing them, riding them, rushing towards them with each gust of the wind. The disciples were even more afraid. First the storm and now this: what could it be?

But as it drew closer, Peter could see it was Jesus.

“Don’t be afraid,” shouted Jesus over the storm, “you can do this!”

Thinking Jesus meant for him to come out to him, Peter stepped out of the boat on to the water. He took a few steps, feeling the rushing water beneath his feet. “How is this possible?” he thought. Then, he could also feel the wind and the rain, and the thunder boomed overhead and the lightening lit the white waves. And he was afraid. And he began to sink.

“Help me, Jesus, I can’t do it,” he shouted.

And just then, he felt Jesus’ hand grab hold of him and help back into the boat. “Oh Peter,” Jesus said. And he got in the boat with him and he said, “Peter, where’s your faith?”

Peter said “I thought I believed in you enough, Jesus, I did. I thought I believed enough to be able to do what you were doing.”

Jesus sighed (loud enough to be heard over the storm). “No, that’s not what I mean, Peter. I know you believe in me. I know you believe in God. I know that. That’s not what I mean. That’s not enough, Peter. You have to believe in you.” Peter looked puzzled.

“Believe in yourself, Peter,” said Jesus again. “Believe in you, believe that you are an important part of this world. Believe that God is with you, just as I am. Believe that God’s spirit is in you and in the sea and in the wind and in all around you. Believe in possibility and don’t be afraid. You’re not alone.” Jesus grabbed Peter’s arm. “Let’s show the others.”

Peter grabbed an oar and began shouting to the other disciples, telling them to row with the wind, to ride the waves, not fight them. He encouraged them to work together and not be afraid of the storm.

Before long, they reached the shore. Wet, tired and with more of an adventure than they’d wanted. But they reached the other side, ready for the next step of their journey.

Thursday, 3 August 2023

It's a miracle!

I've always believed that the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21) was the best kind of miracle story. There’s just no way you can tell it that it’s not a miracle.

It’s late in the day, the story goes, and the disciples want to send a crowd of people away so that they can find food in local villages. Jesus tells them - the disciples - to feed the people. That seems ridiculous to them because all they have is five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus takes what they have, blesses it, and gives it the disciples to distribute. Everyone gets fed and there’s twelve baskets of leftovers. It’s a miracle.

It’s a miracle in so many ways.

Jesus, with the power of God, made five loaves and two fishes turn into enough food to feed everyone. Ok, that’s a miracle. It confirms Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word made flesh, and has powers beyond this world. It’s about affirming who Jesus is and what the power of God can do. 

Jesus, with a demonstration of generosity and graciousness, inspires everyone in the crowd and they look to see what they have that they might be able to share. Radical hospitality at its best. That’s a miracle. It’s about affirming that Jesus is about showing us what we are all capable of.

It’s a metaphor for how all must be fed, both physically and spiritually. Still a miracle.

Even if Jesus had said sure, send them all from this “deserted place” to the local villages, I guarantee someone would have said “it’d be a miracle if they could find enough food for everyone.”

Still, then, a miracle. All are fed and there’s leftovers. It’s like the greatest of all potlucks.

For me, though, the story’s not just about being fed, physically or spiritually, it’s about compassion and kindness. It’s about sharing together, both in the abundance and scarcity of what we have. Especially how Matthew tells it.

The author of Matthew places the story immediately after everyone hears the news that John the Baptist has been executed by Herod. John, who proclaimed the Messiah’s coming, was a colleague in ministry and, according to Luke at least, was a cousin of Jesus was dead.Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.” (Matt. 14:13)

It’s no wonder Jesus wanted to get away. I imagine he was grieving. But the crowd follows him. It would be easy to suggest the crowd followed him out of their own need, but what if the crowd, having heard the same news, was grieving too? What if it wasn’t just Jesus’ compassion for them in their need, but that the crowd felt compassion for Jesus? Perhaps this was a community sharing their grief and beginning to heal together. 

If that’s like communities now, I imagine more than a few of them, those that could anyway, stopped on the way to make a casserole or “a covered dish” or pick up some groceries they would have been happy to share. Still a miracle.

Thursday, 27 July 2023

Do you understand?

Jesus tells a lot of parables. I’ve talked about this before, obviously, because, well, Jesus tells a lot of parables. Each of them is deserving of attention, study, understanding and thought. Which is why it’s so interesting to me that, after concentrating a bunch of parables about the kingdom of heaven into a single block in one chapter (13), the author of the gospel of Matthew has Jesus ask the disciples “do you understand?” Even more interesting is that they answer “yes.”

Really? The authors of all the gospels seem so often to go to great lengths to demonstrate to us that the disciples don’t understand and yet here they simply do. No questions, no clarifications, just a bunch of sayings and they understand the kingdom of God. An excellent example for all of us. I guess.

Except, we do spend rather a lot of time studying, thinking and talking about the parables of Jesus - pretty much everything Jesus, for that matter - so I have to wonder if it was all that simple. To me, it seems reasonable to consider that either the disciples didn’t get it at all but were afraid to say so, or that we just got the “sayings” part of the story and they had a lot of questions, thoughts and commentary of their own.

I think it was the latter. I think there was so much more to this exchange. I don’t mean to impugn the intelligence, sophistication or wisdom of the disciples (or any of the crowds who followed Jesus), they were good ordinary folks. But good ordinary folks ask questions and discuss things. It’s how they become apostles, leaders and wise teachers in their own right. 

I like to think the gospel authors knew that and left us with a similar opportunity, in our own time and place, as the disciples who were with Jesus. In Matthew, for example, I think those parables got many questions and lots of discussion before Jesus even got to the “do you understand” question. I also think that, by asking the question, Jesus didn’t just mean the obvious surface meaning, but that they had taken the time to think and ponder and mine the depths of the parable for meaning. That’s the thing about parables, especially ones about “the kingdom of heaven:” it’s not just one meaning, or even the many layers of meaning, each of which is valuable. It’s the thinking, the ongoing wondering and relating the story to our own lives in the kingdom, making the kingdom and being the kingdom, together.

We won’t learn by pretending to know. We learn by wondering and asking questions, seeking the wisdom that’s at the heart of the story. That’s what Jesus means by understanding. 

Thursday, 20 July 2023

Or it could go like this

Depending on how you define it, Jesus told anywhere from a dozen to fifty parables. Basically, a parable’s a story with a meaning that’s used to teach a lesson. But it gets more complicated after that, because the lesson is often more than what’s obvious in the story. Parables can have a lot of perspectives, a lot of layers, and they invite a lot of thought. That’s why Jesus used them so often.

Out of all those parables, Jesus seems to offer his own explanation only twice, both farming stories, both found in the same chapter of Matthew’s gospel. They’re most commonly referred to as the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds. Yes, I said “seems to” just then. Many biblical scholars now think that it wasn’t Jesus at all, but the author of the gospel (or a later author) who added them so that the it would be clear that the point was consistent with the themes of the gospel.

There’s many good reasons to think that. The very simple one I like is that Jesus used parables as a teaching tool. Why would he tell the story if he had to explain it? He almost never does, except here, and I think he almost never does, not because the meaning’s obvious, but because he wants us to think about it. Many parables have multiple meanings. Many prompt additional questions or thoughts. There’s more than one point and the Parable of the Weeds is a really good example of that.

Jesus tells this parable. A farmer plants a field with wheat. An enemy sneaks in and plants weeds so that when the field begins to grow, the weeds appear with the wheat. The farm workers want to go and pick out the weeds, but the farmer says that might damage the wheat, so let the wheat and weeds grow together. Then, when the field’s harvested, they can be separated, the wheat for grain and the weeds for burning.

The author of Matthew gives Jesus a perfectly reasonable explanation to offer: the field is the world, the enemy is the devil, the wheat is children of God, the weeds children of the devil. At the harvest, angels send the good to the good place and the bad to the fiery place.

Ok. I guess. As long as you remember that it’s God who judges who’s wheat and who’s weed, not us. And that you believe God does that judgement thing, rather than offer love and grace to all. And that you believe there’s a good place and a bad place in the next “life.”

But, what’s a weed, anyway? That’s so subjective. Isn’t it just something that naturally occurs where you didn’t want it? A plant that doesn’t seem to belong? What if the field is, indeed, the world, but the purpose is to show that we all belong together, the ones we each think of as valued as well as the ones we think of us weeds, because we’re all valuable. And, since this is the world, where we end up might be more about intention than judgement. A “weed” can have a purpose.

Maybe this could be about reminding us that what we perceive as good and bad do coexist in this world. But maybe it could be about belonging, rather than judgement. Maybe it’s about how quick we can be to judge and want to root out anything and anyone that doesn’t seem to belong because they’re not the same. Maybe the farmer isn’t “the Son of Man” so much as the Creator and maybe this is a world where all things can belong because they’re all valued, just as they are.