I love the idea of shining like the sun - assuming I'm among the “righteous.” Could such idyllic joy really come at the end of our story, after all the trouble caused by the enemy and the weeds and the difficulty of telling plants apart, and the sorting and bundling and tossing into fiery furnaces? Is there cause for joy in the destruction of evil?
Look more closely at the description Jesus gives of the “weeds” whom the angel reapers would cull from the field. “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers…” It's not about removing “sinners” from the “righteous” – for one of the gifts of Christian belief is the understanding that we are all sinful and righteous, all the same time.
No, the angels will be collecting out of God’s kingdom all causes of sin and doers of evil. I see a difference between sinner and evil-doer – an evil-doer is one who has given him or herself over to promoting destruction, like a cancer spreading throughout a body, whereas a sinner is manifesting the disease, not causing it. Jesus says his angels will gather up and remove all evil-doers, all causes of sin. All.
Think about that for a moment. No more greed. No more envy. No more racism. No more terrorizing. No more humiliation. No more violence. No more environmental devastation. No more… what causes of sin can you think of? Think of a world without that in it. Can you imagine it? Shine like the sun? We’d be so bright, we’d outshine the sun!
Today in prayer, let’s imagine the world with the causes of sin taken out. Let’s imagine freedom and peace and unfettered joy. Let’s imagine everyone under his or her own fig tree, enjoying economic and physical security, taking care of neighbors in need with mutual regard. Let’s imagine that prayer into being. What does yours look like?
Jesus’ parables are subversive little narratives, with big themes disguised as every-day items. Like wheat. Like weeds. Like the end of the world, and the dawning of the new age. Like us, shining like the sun.
Let anyone with ears hear!
Note of Celebration: Water Daily is four years old today! I am so grateful for this far-flung community of Water people, and the conversations I get to have with many of you. I'd love to expand the circle, so feel free to invite others to subscribe here.