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July 19, 2020 Sermon

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NB: I had an awful cold this day while preaching, and so my sermon is a little shorter than usual.

  • Stuck in the middle with you (Stealers Wheel) is a song that we often sing only one line or so to, but it actually is an entire song.
    • Seems to discuss a rise to stardom and how there are people everyone who are all over the place, causing problems for that person...
    • I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair / And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs / Clowns to the left of me / Jokers to the right, here I am, / Stuck In the Middle with You
    • The signer is looking to somehow get out of where they are - they don’t even know why they’re there in the first place.
  • I wonder if that’s how the wheat might have felt as it noticed the seed of the weeds be planted around them.
    • They, after all, are the good seed.
    • And, through no fault of their own, they are no surrounded by clowns and jokers - even more so! They’re surrounded by evil.
    • Given the option, it seems like they’d like to find a way to get out of the field - and sooner rather than later.
    • But - it’s not to be! They’re going to be stuck with the weeds… until the very end.
    • Stuck in the middle.
  • This parable is helpful for any time we might feel stuck in a world where the jokers and clowns might feel too close. And right now, we all feel like we’ve got a lot of those folks around us, and not nearly as much of our shared wheat near us.
  • Sometimes, even in the most difficult and frustrating moments with others around us, there is still a chance to grow.
    • If the weeds were pulled prematurely, so would the wheat. The good would have been taken with the bad. This is the herbicide approach to garden management.
    • The farmer would have never known if what he had sown truly was good. The wheat would have never become what it could be. All that would have been truly known was that the weeds were there.
    • This is important for us to remember in a time of such upheaval - our willingness to stick in the world, be willing to be the wheat means that it isn’t only the weeds to claim the story.
  • The story reminds us too that we’re not meant to do the job of weed pulling either.
    • We are the wheat, and we are rooted in the same soil. That’s unavoidable.
    • That ambiguity though, can make us want to head towards the doors as well.
    • But nothing in here says that the wheat isn’t going to thrive all the same. That there aren’t good things that can happen here. That there isn’t a harvest to come.
    • Instead, it’s on the harvesters timeline.
    • God is in control. God is managing the timeline, and in the end, God will proclaim justice.
  • So yeah, maybe we’re stuck in the middle, but we can be the wheat God made us to be.
    • That doesn’t mean we’re passive, but it doesn’t mean we try to become a weed, a joker, or a clown.
    • We be the people God calls us to be, in spite of who is around us.
    • Between now and the harvest, we should strive to thrive. Set good roots. Sway in the wind, soak up the rain. Hope for the good wheat to grow and don’t worry about the weeds - in fact, it means just a much to believe that there is good wheat everywhere.


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