July 23, 2017
Seeds of Mercy and Grace
In 2015, Time magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel “Person of the Year.” At the time she was known worldwide for her resolve to allow tens and hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country. Just as some praised her as a leader with compassion, others, fearing there could be terrorists among the refugees, believed she was foolishly endangering her people. Nonetheless, the world leader, daughter of a Lutheran pastor, remained resolute, trusting that even if there were evil ones among those who came into the country, she would not deny the possibility of a new life to the refugees.
Years ago a small group of gardeners in northern Wisconsin scattered seeds from lupine pods along state roadsides, leaving them to propagate wherever they fell and however they would grow. Now, decades later, every year in early summer an orchestra of purple and pink, blue, yellow, and white lupine performs visual symphonies for miles and miles along the highways in spite of all the competing seeds that have, over the years, fallen onto that same ground. Whatever weeds and thistles, brush and vines were rooted, they did not diminish or destroy or even restrain the splendor that bloomed from the seeds those gardeners had planted.
When the disciples, so puzzled by the parable, asked Jesus why the sower would allow weeds to remain among what the sower had planted, he repeated his familiar, hopeful message of grace.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu understood Jesus’ message when, even in the dark days of South African apartheid, he wrote, “Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death” (from An African Prayer Book [New York: Random House, 1995]).
The disciples’ question brings us to the deep root of grace. Let the kingdom of heaven grow in the world. The seeds of mercy, grace, compassion, and forgiveness will prevail.
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