Don’t put down you wheatie head! A sermon to honor Congressman John Lewis.

Jul 19, 2020   •  

The Reverend Michele H. Morgan

July 18, 2020

Pentecost 7A

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, “An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ “36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43


Matthew is pushing all my buttons this morning.  I am going to say it, I do not care for this gospel story.  I know you think I do not because of the outcome but truth be told…there are some problems here.  As they say on twitter this does not check out.

First off the idea that good seed will produce a  (* The message paraphases this to this to thistle) …..non-thistle field, that the field will be thistle  freed.  I mean yeah you could have cheap seed with lots of thistles seeds mixed in, and that would not get the job done, but you can get good seed and then that is it.  Well I have planted lots of seeds and I still have to thistle .  Thistle seeds are everywhere.

The thistle in my lawn story

So the idea that there is good seed only is hokum.

Then we have the representation of sin/evil in the personification of the devil.  This also,  not one of my favorite theological stances.  I mean it can be helpful to think that an outside force through no fault on the owners part that causes the thistle s.

Then the story goes off the rails, do not weed, I was told that the thistle s in this story are tares and they look just like wheat when they grow so that you cannot tell them apart.   That was cool, I think I even preached it but it is the mental gymnastics that we do to make sense of this story and that stance is not helpful.

Because this annoying story is, a build up to a deeper question of how does the thistle s become wheat?  How do we if we are the wheat and the weeds/thistles how do we become one or the other?  It is not a helpful story for how people are called to live their lives.

We are called in this story to behave, keep our little wheathy heads down and hope no one makes the connection to the fact that we might be more weedy than wheathy.  (do you see why I want to say Thistles?)  It is a binary story we are one or the other, and yet.  I know sometimes we cannot and we must not keep our heads down.

Keeping our heads down is the last thing we should be doing right now.

  • We need to lift our voices up on how money is being spent or not spent on the Pandemic
  • Contact tracing/testing/ we must do this or all could be lost
  • Financial help for those who can not work, people will loose their homes and put out on the street during a health crisis
  • What is going on in Portland Oregon, we have unmarked forces from DHS arresting people, taking them away in unmarked cars, firing projectiles at protesters, this is deeply troubling and we can not keep our heads down.

Which brings me to Congressman John Lewis who was known for getting into good trouble.

John Lewis once said, “You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.”  Senator Kamala Harris said, In his memory, let’s continue to speak out against injustice and have the courage to make good trouble.

It is in saying what we believe in power that will enter into a conversation, you can not keep your head down, you have to in times like these say what you believe and put your stakes in the ground.  John Lewis did that.

John Lewis said what he meant and he stood by it, marched for it, rode for it, got jailed for it and put himself out on the line for it.

We honor him by holding accountable the powers that be who could pass laws that open the way for all people to vote, saying nice things about him now that he is dead and gone, NO.  Honor him by passing the voting rights act.   We need to make sure that people can vote rather than judge them for not voting.

We need to not look away, from the world we need to stir up our collective voices and honor what Congressman Lewis did not hold ourselves away and hoping for the best.

The Jesus I follow calls me, to act to call out what is happening not to look away.  We are called, by God, by our conscience by, our highermindness to reach out to our government and say that abuses of our relatives dying of a pandemic, being put out on the street, our relatives who have to wait 6-8 hours to vote, these are the people that we are with in the field and our inaction lets the thistles of power, the thistles of fear, the thistles of DHS overreach choke them out.

Do not sit back if there is a harsh judgment that will be leveled on our generation it will not be by the son of man in a this or that gospel story this morning it will be by history if we do not lift up our heads, call out this sinful and broken action and cause some trouble, some good trouble, some necessary trouble.