Teach me your way, O LORD.

The psalmist's prayer is our prayer this day.
A day, a time marked by ominous instability in our world.

The psalmist's prayer is our plea this day.
A day, a time marked by great uncertainty among nations.

The psalmists' prayer is our hope this day.
A day, a time marked by so much despair.

Teach me your way, O LORD.

This prayer, this plea, this hope.
is rooted in a humility
emerging from deep reflection.
Deep, searching reflection that dares admit
a lack of wisdom, and knowledge, and experience
this day and in times such as these.
A deep, searching inward reflection that turns us
outward toward one another,
toward our common humanity,
to borrow President Obama's phrase,
turns us toward our common humanity.

Teach me your way, O LORD.
It is no easy thing to take on this humility,
particularly in our day and age.

With the constancy of a never-ending news cycle
there is little to remind us that
our collective consciousness
is shaped by the necessarily
under-informed, under-processed hyperbole
of the frenzied competition to break stories.

How quick we are to fix blame.
How slow to take responsibility.

Teach me your way, O LORD.

It is no easy thing to take on this humility,
particularly in our day and age.

Instant world-wide connectivity gives us both
an inflated sense of proximity to crises,
and an injurious ability to power off whenever we please.

How quick we are to over-engage or dis-engage.
How slow to commit to appropriate ways of
tending to our neighbor.
However near or far away they may be.
However different they may be from us.
Teach me your way, O LORD.

It is no easy thing to take on this humility,
particularly in our day and age.

We're quick to call ourselves weeds or good plants.
And even quicker at labeling others.

Teach me your way, O LORD.

"Let it all grow," Jesus says.
"For in gathering the weeds
you would uproot the wheat along with them."

Good point.

I also wonder if we need time to discern which is which.
Or if we should leave that up to God all together.

For whatever the plants,
whatever the seed that sprouted them,
and whoever the one to sow them,
it is all God's land.

Jesus proclaims to us today
that in the kingdom of heaven,
that is,
the kingdom where God's wisdom,
and God's way permeates all in all,
friends and enemies,
neighbors near and far,
weed and plant,
good and bad,
God does not come chopping through a field.
Does not harshly plow it down.
Or pull it out.
Does not do what we are so often so quick to do.
To land.
And borders.
And people.

Teach me your way, O LORD.
Teach us your way, O LORD.
Teach this world your way, O LORD.

The way of patience.
And vigilance.
The way of knowledge.
And understanding.
The way of counsel.
And meek might.

Some would call these ways limp.
Useless.
Lacking power.

But throughout the ages,
Christians and other people of faith
have witnessed to these ways.
As ways beyond deep-seated misgivings.
Beyond conflict.
Beyond violence.

Witnessed to a way of promise
in the most dire of times.

How does Saint Paul put it
in the letter to the faithful in Rome?

"For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received a spirit of adoption."

God's spirit.

The spirit which makes these ways
a gift
rather than a liability.

A gift not to wait and watch as innocent people suffer.
But a gift to discern a common humanity,
so as to act prudently.
Judiciously.
Honorably.
Justly.
At a time, in an age
when the whole creation is groaning in labor pains,
and not only the creation,
but we ourselves.

For such is our prayer, our plea, our hope.

Saint Paul says we cannot see this hope.
"For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience."

With patience and with a glimpse
of that promised kingdom.
Coming among us.

That promised kingdom
when the harvest is in fact gathered.

At this Table
Christ Jesus gives us a glimpse of that kingdom to come.
A glimpse of the countless people.
All different sorts of people.
Gathered.

Gathered as grain once scattered on a field.
From all the ends of the earth.
Gathered into one bread, to become one body.

All those different types of grains,
from all different sorts of sown fields,
recognizable not by what they had been
but what they have become.
One bread.
One unified body.

And yet, something even more profound than this.
For only as that one bread, that one body
does the fullness of this glimpse of the kingdom show itself.
Broken,
shared for others.
What was once scattered, now gathered.
What was once divided now united,
and shared.
Shared for others.

We may not be able
to fully see the kingdom of heaven.
But the glimpse of it.
The taste of it.
Confirms our prayer.
And our plea.
And our hope.

Teach me your way, O LORD.

Which is why Christ's invites us:
Take and eat.

Jared R. Stahler
Saint Peter's Church
In the City of New York

SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Isaiah 44:6–8
Psalm 86:11–17
Romans 8:12–25
Saint Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43