Even though only a date in our calendars, the New Year carries weight for many people. It signals the beginning of something new that brings opportunities for change, renewal, and the potential for countless (good) things. However, our culture has married a cynicism to its anticipation of the New Year. How often do you hear people joking about New Year resolutions, making light of peoples’ intentions and their failure to accomplish them?
We are beginning a New Year, and I want to help us think about what we will do as a church, as a family of people dedicated to following Jesus. But I do not wish to prescribe a series of goals. Instead, I want to take a few weeks to consider Jesus’ parables that he used to offer insights into his kingdom and its expectations for those who claimed citizenship in it. I want us to explore what insights his parables provide to us that will guide us as we navigate the hopes, heartbreaks, successes, and failures of 2023. We begin in this lesson by consider the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30.