plucking weeds

plucking weeds

amelia-bartlett-78174

photo credit Amelia Bartlett

Thoughts on Matthew 5:21-32

It all begins in the heart, for bad or good. Murder, adultery are the fruit of a bad seed. Uproot the seed and the fruit will not appear. Easier said than done. Living in the country has taught me how expedient it is to whack off the top of the weed rather than dig out the root. Expedient, yes, efficient, no. We had a poison ivy expert come and give a quote on removing the poison ivy and other invasive weeds on our property. He said it is a long, slow, labor intensive process. It takes years to rid a parcel of land of poison ivy. Roundup shrivels the leaves, but it doesn’t kill the plant.

Jesus says poisonous, death-dealing fruit such as murder and adultery need to be plucked out, not just suppressed.

In my little parochial world I do not have much worry about committing adultery or murder, but what fruit do the seeds of lust or anger bear in my life? Let’s pause and let you examine me, Holy Spirit.

The word that comes to my mind as I sit quietly with the question is pettiness. Ouch. Dictionary.com defines petty as “behavior characterized by an undue concern for trivial matters, especially in a small-minded, spiteful way.” How am I petty? Irritated that Jack doesn’t load the dishwasher the way I think it should be loaded. Frustration with B’s disregard for my time schedule. (he says he’ll be here in 25 minutes and shows up an hour later.) Pettiness raises her head because I don’t have anyplace I have to be, so it really doesn’t matter if he shows up at noon or one o’clock!

I know I can’t not feel the emotional reactions I have to these situations. Feelings are feelings, they are amoral. But what they can lead to is definitely a moral issue. Lord, pluck out the anger that produces such pettiness in my life. Heal the wounded place that demands my way, my time, me, me, me. Plant your great love within my heart. When I notice pettiness emerging I will bring my soul and the source of my pettiness into your presence. In your light small-minded, spiteful thoughts diminish. It’s a long, slow, labor intensive process, but you are on the job. Thank you and amen.

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The path to bliss

Thoughts on Matthew 5:1-12a (the beatitudes)

God you know us so well. You begin your teaching about the kingdom by addressing what human hearts longs for: happiness. We are created to live in a state of well-being and are restless because we do not experience it. You alone provide the true, unsullied source of bliss. Our longing provides us with great energy. It is like a powerful stream of water rushing through a hose, unless held and directed, it dangerously flies about like the banned toy from the 1960’s –  the water wiggle.

Yet the way to this state of blessing seems backwards – happiness through poverty, grief, meekness? You draw me in and then turn my world upside down. Of the many blessings you mention, I’m drawn to the blessedness of “seeing God.” It belongs to the pure in heart.

A pure heart – one not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material (dictionary.com)

A clean heart – like soiled laundry washed clean of stains.

A purged heart – one that houses only the purist thoughts, feelings, motives with nothing evil or worldly left in it.

An uncompromised heart – one surrendered totally to the reign of Christ.

A heart absorbed by the contemplation of God

Lord, purify my heart. A pure heart will see you everywhere in all places, people and lives face-to-face with God.

My paraphrase: Oh, the blessedness of having a clean, correctly motivated heart for I will see the face of God everywhere I look.

My heart sings the praise song.  “I want to know you I want to see your face…”