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BONUS: When the News is Bad…Again. This Time, Manchester, England

May 23, 2017

In the wake of the bombing in Manchester, England at an Ariana Grande concert, I commend to you this reminder from colleague Rev. Scott Weeks (April 20, 2016*) —

How do you deal with unrelenting violence and discord?

The best response, of course, is letting headlines spur us to action, such as the Rosa Parks incident inciting the civil rights movement. Good news comes from bad news when passions and resources mobilize opposition to evil.

Many times, though, things are beyond our action. The bad news, other than consciousness-raising, just lingers overhead and casts its shadow over the day.

It’s in such times that another tactic is in order.

Jesus told a story of an “enemy” sowing weeds in a field of wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). When the weeds grew along with the wheat, the workers asked the owner if he wanted them pulled up. He said no, since that would also pull up some wheat. Rather, let all the plants grow. When the wheat is ripe for harvest and can be stored in a barn, that is when the weeds can be dealt with.

This takes patience, which I don’t have. I’d want to extract the weeds immediately, and a bit angrily.

But Jesus seems to be telling me to change my perspective. Look at the beauty of the crop instead of persistently fuming over the weeds. A power greater than mine will take care of the thistles.

What’s jammed into our faces daily are pictures of weeds marring the landscape. Violence and tragedy seem to spread without restriction. 

Maybe we need to remember that, at the same time, there is still quite a bit of beauty in the world, quite a bit of “wheat” that can go unnoticed if we transfix ourselves solely on the weeds.

Sometimes that’s difficult for me to remember. You, too?


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  1. Nina permalink

    Leonard Bernstein: “This will be our reply to violence:
    to make music more intensely,
    more beautifully,
    more devotedly than ever before.”


  2. Bev permalink

    The analogy you made in this blog is great. People need to look past the weeds and recognize the wonderful people making a difference in our world.


  3. “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” Martin Luther King, Jr.


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