Some time ago, I served on grand jury duty. It was such an unexpected, life-changing lesson in grace, mercy, and compassion.
There will be cases from my time on the grand jury that will stay with me until my final days. I have made one or two decisions that could have completely changed the trajectory of my life, but for the grace of God there go I. I can picture the people in my family and village that nurtured me among other grains of wheat. As I reflected on my own life and the stories I heard on the grand jury, I asked myself, what would have happened if WE had let those whom society deems “weeds” grow in their youth? Jesus invites us to allow the weeds and wheat to grow together. After they grow and are harvested, he says, then gather them and destroy the weeds. What if the so-called “weeds” or outcasts of our society had after school programs, community centers, adequately funded schools, adequate social services to meet everyone’s most basic needs as children?
If we took a step back and reflected on Frederick Douglass’s prophetic words, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Each of the cases that we heard were once little boys and little girls that were left to grow amongst the wheat.
Instead, their community centers and after school programs closed. Their playgrounds were left in disrepair. Their grown-ups were not given adequate resources and support to care for the children in their lives. Today, we find many broken men and women that were seen as weeds and pulled too soon.
Perhaps, if we start to look at them as mustard seeds with just a little faith, it is quite possible they could become a full bush that is a dwelling place for their community. Little boys and girls that are repaired and restored to be healed men and women. The field is overflowing with bushels of wheat and full, thriving bushes.
- How can you advocate for and accompany those whom society has deemed “weeds”?