Monday, July 14th
for Sunday, July 20th, 6th Sunday after Pentecost
by Audrey Hindes
READ: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 “uproot”
REFLECT: In the first reading of this passage, “uproot” was the word that stood out to me. I thought of the weeds from the gospel text last week “choking” the good seed, and of the necessity of thinning plants so they don’t do this to one another. I also thought of the physical act of uprooting one’s life and moving to a new place, full of both opportunities and challenges. As I continued to read, the idea of moving as a relocation became more of moving as a journey. As a native Californian who lived in New Jersey before coming to Georgia, I have a bit of experience with uprooting, moving and journeying.
In New Jersey, the teacher of my class on Centering Prayer posed a question to us: “what if everything is just as it should be?” It was like a flash of lighting as I caught a glimpse of God’s reality. But just a glimpse, because of course I wanted to list all of life’s exceptions: the injustices, the horrors, the heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. Surely not these things, too, God. While I don’t think God exactly “wills” terrible things to happen, I do think we can learn from our Buddhist sisters and brothers here – our greatest enemy can be our greatest teacher. As peace-workers and justice-seekers, this is not a foreign notion to us.
I’ve long thought the question posed by my teacher that day stands in marked contrast to the statement, “everything is just as it should be.” As a question it is an invitation. It is an invitation for me to look for God’s reality, to look for the kingdom of God around me and within me. An invitation not to despair at the weeds that grow up around me, that seem to block my path. It is an invitation to embrace our enemies – indeed, all those whom we demonize. Or maybe it’s not that severe. Maybe it’s more subtle – an irritating family member or coworker – “if this person would just go away, then everything would be perfect.”
RESPOND: God, unveil the cloud from my eyes, so that I may glimpse your kingdom. May that glimpse give me the courage to seek for your reality, and to see that the path that I’m on is right where I need to be. You have prepared my way to this point, even when I couldn’t see it. Help me to have faith that you are at work, even now, preparing my next steps for this day.
When we engage in the kind of wishful thinking that God would just “uproot” our enemies, get rid of them, what do we miss? What missed opportunities for reconciliation, to extend grace, to see how we ourselves have even contributed to the situation? Feel free to respond or ask questions in the comments below.
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.