Minister’s Reflection – May 23, 2019
Rev. Dave Crawford
“Weeds, Always Weeds”
As we think about gathering Sunday morning for “Rural Life Sunday”, weeds may not register mentally as something to give much attention to – in worship or conversation! Nonetheless, it may be true that we can’t really get around it – weeds will impact us in some sense, some way, this summer, unless we are those who completely avoid farming, gardening and the like (perhaps condo people enjoy the gift of a weed-less existence?).
When I was a young guy, maybe 12, I had a paper route and liked to golf – that was about as much as I wanted to be bothered with at that age, when school was out! My father, however, had been taught by his father the “myth” that it was good for kids to learn the importance of weeding. And so, part of every weekend, an invasive, oppressive part of every summertime weekend, was the enforced requirement to get down on my hands and knees and pull/dig/rip every weed I could find out of the ground around the flowers, trees, bushes, potatoes, radishes and carrots (they weren’t all together, by the way). This was cruel, unusual treatment of a future PGA golf pro, I believed, a waste of a good summer day. My father, on the other hand, full-time pastor, Dad of four, himself also an aspiring golfer, and the one who usually cut the lawn and trimmed it, well, he saw no harm in sharing the yard duties. He supervised, reclined, and read novels as I weeded.
To this day, I can’t stand weeding! No surprise, I guess, for who actually likes it? Yet it must be done! If weeds are ignored, left alone, they’ll eventually take over whatever garden or land they inhabit, right? To avoid the arduous digging up of weeds I once tried spraying Roundup on all the dandelions and anything else that looked like a weed all over our lawn a few years back. Ask Miho how that turned out. A poccadotted lawn all summer, as I recall, mostly green but with little golden dead zones, 5-6 inches in diameter, scattered everywhere.
I wonder if there’s a metaphor here, lurking in the weeds! Some might suggest we need to avoid the toxic people of our daily journey through life, but wouldn’t Jesus tell us to act differently and think differently about such people? Wouldn’t he also advise us, with some degree of urgency and maybe a little judgment, about labelling anyone as “toxic”? Perhaps the weeds we most encounter are the personal, spiritual type: grudges we can’t relinquish, vengeance we can’t cast off, jealousy we can’t abandon, judgements we can’t avoid, materialism we can’t properly appropriate. Perhaps it’s these attitudes, priorities, and vices that most seek to choke off healthy, faithful living?
I hope we’ll see you this Sunday as we celebrate Rural Life in song, scripture, and prayer. We’re gonna pass on blessing seeds this year but we will indeed bless all of what it means to be connected to God’s good earth via our rural activities and lifestyles. Who knows, maybe someone might bring a couple of dandelions or thistles or crab grass or wild oat or hogweed to remind us of deeper things and how the spiritual life sometimes (or often) requires the hard work of weeding!
What does Jesus have to say about spirituality the rural life? Quite a bit actually. For example, and for fun, check out the Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13:1-23 or Mark 4:1-20 or Luke 8:4-15.
Grace and Peace.