September is here. Spring is here. As I look out my window I am reminded that we have entered the season when the weeds go wild with life, or at least they do in my garden. I was able to keep them under partial control during the cold of winter, but now, with warmer days and continuing rains, their gleeful green is advancing into previously clear garden beds, playfully mocking me as they attempt to hide George the Great Dane from sight with their growth. Above them, the cherry trees are in bloom, the first heralds of warmer days, giving a highlight of white to the lush green below.
September is the month for the Season of Creation, when we celebrate our kinship with the natural order and worship our Creator together, “the earth is God’s and all that is in it, the world and those [things and people] who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
Yet, as I look out on the backyard, I know that September also means work. It’s easy to sweep up the petals from the blossoms after they fall to the ground, but the weeds – they will need to be pulled out, a tedious task, or poisoned with some chemical whose safety, I hear, is now questioned. It is easy to be uplifted by blossoms. Flowers grace our worship space. But weeds? Who ever put a planter of fresh green weeds on a stand in the church? Matthew writes “Consider the lilies of the field,” which are clothed by God (6:28-30) but he does not mention the soursobs.
If flowers uplift us in praise to God, what of weeds? It is a small step to see the weeds as the things that drag us down and destroy our quality of life. Matthew reinforces this with the parable of the weeds in the wheat (13:24-30). Flowers might be symbols of the good and happy things in our life, while weeds represent the bad events that have sapped us and cause us grief. Or, taking an even more extreme view, flowers might represent the good people of this world, and weeds the ugly ones.
Yet, I wonder. As I look out my window, certainly I see that God has graced the trees with blossoms, but I also see that the weeds have been given a richness of colour and an abundance of life. They are vibrant in their wild growth. Can they be all bad? Are they pure pests? What is more, if someone were to ask you if you were a weed or a flower, how would you answer? Perhaps something along the lines of “Well, I have some flower in me, but there’s a lot of weed also, and sometimes I feel very weedlike” (or should it be “weedy”). We need to remind ourselves that God looks with love on the weeds as on the flowers – think of the way a child might find pleasure and beauty in a necklace of soursobs. We need to remind ourselves that weeds have the gift of richness and abundant life – not just remind ourselves, but live out this abundance in ourselves.
September is also the month which holds World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10, also RUOK day this year) when we at Scots participate in the Suicide: It’s No Secret awareness campaign. Too often, those touched by suicide and those lost to suicide are regarded in our society with the same sort of negative perspective associated with weeds. Yet, these are also people created and loved by God. None of us are flowers; none of us are weeds. Let us remember that we stand alongside all creation as our kin, and that those touched in that sad way are also precious to God and worthy of our concern and non-judgemental love.
Rev Dr Peter Trudinger
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