Living Among The Weeds
Third Sunday In The Third Week Of Kingdom Time
In The Church In The Struggle
It’s Kingdom time. The kingdom of God, with all its peace, and all its power, is growing in us. What does this gift require of us?
We read some of the ten commandments at the beginning of the service. Don’t steal. Don’t envy what your neighbor has. Don’t be unfaithful in your marriage. Don’t lie about your neighbor. Don’t kill. Honor your father and mother.
Remember this: disobedience brings a burden – obedience brings a blessing. The consequences of violating the commandments condemn you to misery. But Obedience will bring you a blessing.
We are also required to act, to live the law in what we do, not just to believe or say we believe – but to live out the law in our lives.
Then last week we were reminded that the law requires us to love your neighbor as yourself as well as to love God with all your mind and heart. We were reminded that you cannot live in the law alone. Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God is ”among us”. That is why we struggle to keep our families in harmony and in line with God’s law. That is why we struggle to build a church and an organization that provides for people to grow together and to defend each other at each stage of their lives, beginning when they are young children. That struggle is not always easy.
In the scripture today, Jesus tells a parable about the farmer who planted his field. Someone came and planted weeds. His workers wanted to go pull up the weeds, but he told them not to. He said “Wait until the harvest, because if you try to pull them up now you will pull up the good wheat with the weeds.”That leads us to the title of our message today, ”Living Among the Weeds.”
Who plants the weeds? Jesus says it is Satan; that is, evil plants the weeds. And Jesus teaches us that to get the effects of evil out of the people, you have to name the demon, ‘call it by its name and call it out with authority.’
How do we care for the corn, so that the weeds will not deny them the sun and choke them to death? Jesus tells us in another parable that the crop will survive “if it is planted in the soil of faith.”
There is much attention in Chicago now on the violence among our young people. In fact Emma and I are going to a press conference tomorrow with pastors across the city. As we have been meeting with them, I am not sure that the pastors have the right message.
There is violence. Much of it comes from the gangs and is about protecting territory to sell drugs. Moe than that there is a culture of violence, of disrespect, of envy and jealousy, that goes far beyond the gangs into a whole generation. It infects the music and the writings on facebook, and it infects the relationships between young men and women.
And this culture of violence and disrespect becomes part of young families:so what should be strong marriages in which to raise up children are marriages that are divided and violent and scar the children.
But who planted these seeds?
There is a multi-billion dollar part of the economy that continues to produce the violence. 20 million people in this country buy drugs illegally. That creates the market for a massive economy and a massive organization of the production and sale of drugs. This industry cannot be regulated by the courts or by laws because it is outside the law. How then can they settle disputes. So it is regulated by guns – guns that are over produced in this country. That is the demon. That organized economy is the source of the violence. Its source is right here in this country. We have to name the demon and call it out of our people.
And we have to recognize that this nation has abandoned a generation of young African Americans and Latinos. The schools have abandoned them. The economy has abandoned them and left them unemployed so that there is an inexhaustible supply of unemployed young men for the drug business – which is regulated by the gun. The result has been 60,000 people killed in Mexico since 2009 and thousands killed on the streets of our cities, many here in Pilsen.
What I am saying is that the weeds are planted the agent of wickedness. But there is much good in this generation – and even much good in the street organizations: for there is also loyalty and love there, in reaction to their abandonment. The government is telling us to pull up the weeds but if we do we will be attacking young people who have the potential to be the leaders of our people,
How do we resist the devil, so he will flee from us? How do we resist the evil that we name without pulling up the good corn with the weeds? We want to answer that question this morning. Amen?
There is also a culture of opportunism in our movement. We have won three victories in our fight to stop the deportations:
We won prosecutorial discretion that should protect our families, but each case has to be fought out on its own. We are trying to organize our fight – but many cases are lost because there is no one there to fight with them.
We won the two year deferment, which will begin on August 15th. We will begin taking applications for those who came before they were sixteen – but they need to be done carefully and no one knows what will happen to them after two years because it depends on who is elected President.
We won the “in-country waiver” for a U.S. citizen to legalize their spouse – but we still have to prove “hardship” and fight each one on a case by case basis.
We fought hard for these victories, but we could have won much, much more: Of course, we blame Obama for his broken promise –but we have to look at the organizations that wanted to be “friends of the world.”
The failure to pass the law is not just Obama’s fault. The organizations that were supposed to represent the undocumented compromised the struggle to keep their funding. That happened. It is part of the history. They wanted, as the bible says, more to be a friend to the world and material benefits than to be a friend to God and his people.
We did not even win the same benefit for the parents of U.S .citizen children that we won for the young people who came here before they were sixteen. We can protect them when they are arrested, but there is nothing they can apply for to get even a temporary legal status. Why? Because many of the organizations, and some of the young people themselves, accepted the argument of the dream act. They said the parents were guilty but not their children. They did that to be a friend to a nation that will not take responsibility for the system of undocumented labor from which it made billions of dollars. They blame the ones who were exploited by it, not the exploiters!
We won some things but we could have won so much more except for the weeds of opportunism that grew up in our movement. We will use what we have won – but we must prepare now for the next stage of the battle –and learn the lessons.
How do we prepare?
The bible says we must “Come close to God and he will come close to you. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” But remember that you cannot live in the Kingdom alone, you cannot resist evil alone. We need to organize together!
We need to prepare young families that are falling apart: that means we must give them a church and an organization to be part of that makes them strong.
We need to organize defense committees for those who face deportation so that no one is without a good defense. And those organizations will make us ready for the battle for everybody next year! We shouldn’t “pull out the weeds” of opportunist organizations – but we must build an organization from the grassroots that will be more of a friend to God and God’s people than a friend to the world and its bribes.
We need to build La FuerZa Juventud our youth organization.. The young people who are eligible to apply for the deferment and the work permit need to be defended so they apply correctly. And they must not be used to convict their parents in the years to come.
Moreover, young people must have a positive organization, their own organization, with a positive culture, with its roots in the soil of faith, that serves their people in health care – that defends their people and their community. They must name the demon of the drug economy and at the same time provide an organized alternative to the culture of selfishness and violence. And they must organize with all of our support to demand the education and the jobs that this wealthy nation has denied them.
What we are saying is that these are the ways we provide for the corn to grow without pulling out the weeds. You don’t pull up the weeds. You gather the people in organizations that are planted in the soil of faith. Those organizations will grow into the harvest and God will dispose of the weeds.
We are asked to prepare – but know that God has prepared us: that is why we are here, that is why we were brought here. He has brought us through this struggle this far. He has given us Familia Latina Unida. He has given us FuerZa Juventud. He has given us this church. We don’t have much money – but He will provide what we need to be self-reliant – to be his friend instead of a friend to the wickedness of the world that would make us compromise.
He prepared us as he prepared Rudy Lozano, from the day he was born- and Rudy did what he was prepared for: He worked to provide for the organization of the people in his time. And today, we turn to his sister, Pastora Emma Lozano, to remember and to honor him. Amen? Amen? Amen!
The Holy Scriptures for the Third Week in Kingdom Time
James 3:13-18 Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Matthew 13:24-30 The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
James 4:1-8 Submit Yourselves to God
4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded