Thorns and Thistles

pulling-weedsI was doing some yard work this week at the church. Pulling weeds.  By definition a weed is a wild plant that grows where its not wanted. It grows where it will. We put effort in planting our flowers and the weeds – though unwanted – just appear, they come from nowhere.  They remind us of sin since they appeared as a result of man’s sin.  God says to Adam in Genesis, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you….” (3:17,18).

I’ll admit it was quite a chore. Some of the yard work around the church had been neglected and the weeds had seemingly taken over everything. We toiled, pulled, hoed, raked and in the end it seemed as if it was unending. The only way to get rid of them is by killing them, pulling them out by the roots. The same applies to sin. And just as weeds spread so does sin. One sin will lead to another. Like a gardener fights against unwanted weeds we’re called to war against our undesirable passions.  But in order to do so one has to locate the weeds. We tend to justify our deeds, see them from a different light, put things in perspective, then conclude “well, it’s not that bad”. But it is.

This Sunday we’ll hear the Gospel of the Gergesene Demoniacs. God created this world and declared it beautiful. Truly, we don’t know when it is more beautiful, during the day when the sun is shining or in the evening when the moon is glowing above. We don’ know if it’s more beautiful when the fields and meadows are covered in a thick, smooth layer of snow or the green fields of summer. And of all creation the most beautiful is man. But when Jesus met the two demon-possessed men in the country of the Gergesenes He met two men who were so exceedingly fierce that no one could pass that way.

This is the devil’s presence amongst us. And the devil doesn’t come on his own, he comes through sin. Sin isn’t something we commit, it’s something we commit to. One will lead to another and before you know it the sweet smelling garden of our soul is taken over with worldly desires. Sin doesn’t come announced.  Rather, it creeps in slowly. It’ll take over our ego, it’ll compliment us, introduce us to feelings of jealously, revenge, spitefulness; all of the sudden we’re not content with the things we have but want to replace them with other things; we’re bored.  And so we embark upon a false search for happiness forgetting altogether the happiness we had.

You see, weeds grow where they’re not wanted. But the biggest problem with our sins is not that they appear out of nowhere and we don’t know what to do with them. The greatest tragedy is in recognizing them but realizing deep down inside that we don’t want to do anything about it. In the end, it all boils down to death. Whether it be to our desires or our souls, that’s up to us.

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