"The landowner is shrewd as well as being a savvy farmer. He knows that the wheat is strong enough to tolerate the weeds' competition for nutrition and irrigation. After the harvest, the landowner will not only have grain for his barns, but extra, unanticipated fuel for his needs. Instead of shaming this landowner, the weed strategy has backfired and shamed the enemy. The landowner and his servants have the last laugh. The enemy bent on shaming others is shamed instead!"
It might have been nice if Jesus gave this interpretation instead of the one we get via Matthew. But perhaps this is the kind of interpretation that would have been completely lost prior to the cross and to the forgiveness of Easter. The point of these things being hidden from us is that we cannot possibly have our eyes opened to look at something so terrible about ourselves unless we are already forgiven for it. Perhaps, it is the kind of interpretation that only becomes completely clear to us with the advent, through the work of the Paraclete, of a Christian anthropology, the kind of anthropology which has eluded us until anthropology itself was ready to be invented. Now that it's invented, we can finally have the anthropology revealed in Christ more fully revealed to us as anthropology. We can begin to more consistently make the true distinction between human violence and divine grace."
"If good and evil exist both within and without the church, this must certainly have an effect upon the way we look upon persons of other faiths or even of no explicit faith. From a process perspective, God is at work in all times and places luring all creatures toward the good. This should give all Christians an important warning about a judgmental attitude toward those “outside the fold,” just as the parable itself should make us wary of judgmentalism within the community itself. The image of judgment, on the other hand, is equally important as a reminder that not all behavior—whether that of individuals or groups or governments—is acceptable in God’s eyes. But the fundamental issue at stake is not whether others conform to our doctrinal standards. It is, rather, whether they stand for the common good on the one hand or for values and policies that wreak havoc with human beings or God’s creation on the other. And, as we all know—and have been reminded so dramatically in recent years!—adherence to some version of Christian orthodoxy is no guarantee that one’s deeds will in fact promote the good."
You can find detailed exegesis on the web in several places. For this week, check out:
Check out Ed Marquart's Gospel Analysis at "Sermons from Seattle." Ed is providing a Gospel Analysis for each week's text, with illustrations, sermon ideas, and a full text sermon.
At Dylan's Lectionary Blog by Sarah Dylan Breuer, you'll find a farewell sermon to her current congregation, "God Is a Foolish Farmer."
An especially helpful resource for me this week has been Todd Weir's, "Good Soil," at bloomingcactus. Todd talks about the clean and sober house he operates in New York City, and how he understands the parable of the sower through his work there:
"We are a clean and sober house for 58 people and we are doing a very imperfect job of helping people sort out their lives and find some stability and hope for the future. I can relate to the parable of the sower, because we throw a lot of seeds and not all find good soil."