Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!’Matthew 13:36-43
In today’s reading Jesus is reminding us that when he comes in glory (on a day and at a time we cannot predict) there will be a time of judgement. Those who reject the love and the call of God cannot expect to then revel in the glorious light of His Kingdom. This may sound straightforward: good people this way; bad people that way! But … can it really be that simple?
The Rectory in Corby Glen is very well appointed. It is built with a very accurate East/West orientation. In the morning we see the sunrise in all its glory; in the evening we benefit from the most amazing sunsets. Surely, this must be a foretaste of the sun shining in the Kingdom of our God. But … Whilst our sunrise and sunset may fill us with a warm glow, Jesus’ audience would not have shared in our sense of restful self-satisfaction. As I know from personal experience, the sun in the Middle East, on almost every day of the year, isn’t just dazzling, it can be terrifying in the intensity of its heat. From dawn to dusk those who heard Jesus’ words would have been used to constantly seeking protection and shade. When Jesus says that the righteous will shine like the sun he is making an enormous statement about the power of the relationship the righteous will have entered into with God himself.
As we journey through this life we are all called to reflect and embody the love and glory of God himself. In Genesis we read that humanity was created by God, in his own image. Because we are all different people, and yet share in being created in God’s image, we are called to accept that God intends that each of us should be reflectors of different facets of His glory.
So often, I hear of people being described as ‘good Christians’ simply because they have a reputation for being ‘nice’. Sadly, as we can learn from today’s reading, just being ‘nice’ is not enough. To enter into a true relationship with God is about acknowledging and accepting that we are made in His image. We must then live every moment of our lives in the certainty of that knowledge. Then, our commitment to reflecting the love and glory of God will truly shine out as a dazzling example to others. Then, through us, the Lord’s harvest might grow and grow. Thanks be to God!