When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No', he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. Matthew 13:26-30
My first SURRENDER related activity for the year was putting in a Skype call to Shane Claiborne, one of the neighbourhood practitioners who’s coming to be part of our conference in March. The day we spoke was close to the dates of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Martin Luther King Day, as well as a protest at the US Supreme Court calling for an abolition to the death penalty, which Shane was part of organising. As part of our conversation I asked the obvious question, “How are you feeling about what’s happening in the US at the moment and where do you see God present in it all?” I anticipated he might reply with a sentiment of keeping his head above water and feeling overwhelmed in the face of brokenness and darkness!
Instead he replied that he felt that there was more interest, support, and growth in the work for love and justice he was part of than ever before. He quoted Jesus parable of the weeds and the wheat and said it felt like both were growing at the same time in his context - the way of greed, fear, control, oppression, and conflict as well as the way of justice, peace, love, truth. In the parable of the wheat and the weeds Jesus says that we are in a period of time where in every place on the face of the earth both are growing up together – and across history and in the present we witness the legacy and impact of saints who have sown seeds of the kingdom and left a deep and powerful witness of light and love. At the same time we see in the past and the present the unfolding tragedy of evil and unspeakable horrors and abuses, of suffering and war. Both are present and growing together.
As one little human being I often find myself confused and paralysed in the midst of the intermingled wheat and weeds as, with my very limited reserves of wisdom, knowledge, compassion and courage, I struggle with the complexity of discerning at times, which is which, and how to nurture the wheat without encouraging the weeds! I wrestle with, both as a local citizen and a global neighbour, how to resist systems and cultures of greed, injustice, and sin while meaningfully and authentically demonstrating it is truly possible to walk a different path. Even just having hope that in the midst of all the weeds I see, the seeds of wheat Jesus has planted are still present and growing!
The challenge often is that even within my own being it seems the wheat and weeds are often both present and intermingled. I recognise all too often I can be both forgiving or resentful, friendly or fearful, selfless or selfish, compassionate or aloof.
My prayer is that the Spirit would guide us and open our eyes to see the weeds and the wheat for what they are and help us to know the path to walk. That we are kept humble, kept hoping in the promise of Jesus, kept reliant on each other for solidarity on the journey. We can’t do it alone! We are hoping and praying that gathering together at SURRENDER, and in other spaces, with like-minded followers of the Way as we start our year will help inspire and empower us all to embody love, peace, truth and justice place by place in a world that so desperately needs it!
Sam Hearn, National Director