Daily Bread July 23

Become Children of the Kingdom
Janne Grover, Council of Twelve Apostles

Let both of them grow together until the harvest….Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen! -Matthew 13:30, 43

Life is full of wheat and weeds, highs and lows, joy and sorrow. The parable of the weeds can be discouraging knowing that, despite our best choices and planting, those pesky weeds creep in or get planted without our knowing. There is no avoiding the fact that we have to deal with the weeds. Such is the reality of life in community. Building communities of oneness takes work, patience, acceptance, vulnerability, and compromise. This is true in families, congregations, schools, places of work, and wherever two or three are gathered.

Sometimes the weeds in my life have been choices, sometimes people, and sometimes circumstances beyond my control. I have grown to understand removing life-weeds is neither the point of this passage nor the essence of the gospel. Christ modeled a way of weed-tending marked by forgiveness, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and wholeness. We are not to judge another as wheat or weed, but let all grow together. Unjust life circumstances of violence, abuse, poverty, and hunger are the weeds that choke out the hope of human potential. These circumstances remind us of the global weed-tending that is Christ’s mission and our shared mission.

The hope-filled ending in this passage is that wheat prevails! When life choices or circumstances beyond our control leave us feeling choked by the weeds of our planting or others’ planting, God’s reign of love and justice is the final word. “Let everyone one with ears listen” affirms this burden and blessing is for everyone.

Prayer Phrase

“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)

Spiritual Practice

The Prayer of the Heart

Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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