Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11), Year A

* Genesis 28:10-19a

* Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

* Romans 8:12-25

* Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Some hours, some days, some weeks just don't seem to work. Maybe it's nothing specific, just a vague feeling that something is "off." Or it could be the non-stop stream of "why me?" moments and seeming bad luck. Flat tire, burnt dinner, lost wallet, you name it.

There are hours, days, weeks that need a reset button to be sure.

Maybe when we're "aware," we know something in our "off" days needs fixed. That's why the self-help section of the bookstore is vast and ever-growing. Surely we can just implement a three step plan and fix whatever it is that is "out of tune?"

But really, when we slow down and take a deep breath, we know (Laura & Matt, Matt & Laura) that these times are often times when we feel disconnected - we've lost touch with the fact that we are created beings created to be in connection with God, our creator. And not in just vague connection - in relationship. For some that is a father/child relationship. For others it might be a confessor/confessee relationship. Or a playful exchange relationship. Or a channeling artist relationship. No two relationships are alike...surely it is true of our relationship with God. And when we're not taking time to tend that relationship, nothing seems to work - not our self-discipline, not our desire to light the world, and most certainly not our relationships with our fellow creation.

In those moments, we need a bit of a spiritual reset - a CTRL ALT DEL and the resulting reboot of our connection to God and the world.

In the passage from Genesis, we continue to unfold the narrative history of the people who will eventually be known as the Israelites. Jacob (remember his power struggle with brother Esau) has a dream in which God promises him really big things. But most of all, God promises to be with his people. All the time. In lots of places. With LOTS of descendants. We know both from where this story has come and by where it will go, those people were in various stages of "connectedness" with God throughout the story. And God remains.

The Psalmist is praising with wonder God's presence in good and bad, desired or not. There's an important recognition here about God being with us even when we're not particularly excited about that. It sort of calls to mind that classic kid stunt of plugging the ears while chanting, "I can't hear you!"

In Paul's letter to the church in Rome, one picture he paints for his hearers is that of our "sonship" with God. Now clearly there are some gender-based language hurdles here, but Paul is defining the relationship that Christians have with God - heirs to the Kingdom. This is a community facing great difficulty. And Paul is reminding them of a "not yet" reality that belongs to them as heirs. We don't know that these people were not actively seeking to relate to God - it's very possible that they were. But in the midst of their ugly circumstances, they are still children of God.

Finally, the text from Matthew is one of the "the Kingdom of Heaven is like..." parables of Jesus. Weeds sewn among the wheat require that the healthy crop share its soil, air, water, and space with the weed crop. Do you ever feel squeezed by fellow humanity in those moments when nothing is quite right? The inward pressing of our fellow created humans can sometimes indicate that something is not quite right. And in some ways, Jesus names it pretty plainly. The wheat has been sewn by the Son of Man (presumably representing those in relationship with God?) and the weed has been sewn by "evil powers." Our favorite definition of sin is "that which keeps us from being in full relationship with God."

God, help us as we attempt to live in to the
simplicity of our relationship
with You.
Guide us as we attempt to do away with
projected expectations
and assumed requirements.
Help us to

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.

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