>Creation is a glorious mystery. I live in an area of California where there are redwoods and eucalyptus. I love the smell of eucalyptus, the seeds that look like tea cups. Redwoods are just amazing — is there any plant as tall and majestic? 25 years ago, when my daughter Celia was born, we planted a redwood out in front of her grandmother’s house where a dying tree once stood. Today, that tree soars over the tiny white cottage on the hill and the plush neighborhood where it stands. What is amazing is that it came from a seed I can hold in the palm of my hand.
Life comes from a spark of almost nothing and becomes something extraordinary.
Where the seeds are planted and nurtured make a big difference.
The Gospel for Sunday, July, 13, is the first of three lections from Matthew 13 consisting of parables, the the third major body of Jesus’ teachings found in this Gospel, the first being the Sermon on the Mount and the other, the Mission Charge.
Okay, so what’s a parable?
It’s a tool for teaching that Jesus used – they are powerful, because what stays in the memory better than a good story?
But these are stories that allow the listener to teach themselves. Jesus’ parables are disorienting; they turn society as we know it on it’s head, takes us out of the predictable and comfortable and challenges us to look deeper, closer.
The “Parable of the Sower” tells us of seeds that are planted in different ground – the seeds are tossed; some seeds fell on pavement; some seeds fell in rocky ground; more seed fell into bracken, thorns and weeds, and finally, seeds fell into good soil.
What happens to the seeds, the seed that fell on pavement, or path? They were eaten by the birds immediately, And the seeds that fell on rocky ground? Well, they sprang up but there was no depth for their roots and they withered and died, How about the seeds that fell into the thorns? Choked. Finally, the seeds that fell into good soil? Can you guess? They produce grain in hundredfolds, and them some!
So which seed are you?
That’s the point of this parable. Our ears hear an allegory – the seed is Logos, the word of God through Christ. The seeds represent we children of God and how we respond to the teaching of Jesus.
Let’s see if I can get this right:
The seed on the path is the person who doesn’t want to hear; the seed on rocky ground is the person who wants to get it, tries hard at it, then gives up for whatever reason. It’s just too hard. The seed in the thorns might be someone in the wrong crowd, who cannot hear, tries, but is suffocated by their own worries and life; and the seed in the good soil – that’s not hard to figure out. That’s someone who hears and takes it to heart; let’s the word of the Lord and the invitation of Christ to be nurtured and it grows so that the word is spread to everyone that good seed knows and sees, and it continues to reap a good harvest.
Jesus told these stories to get people to think harder about their lives, their relationships with God and people, to look at the Kingdom of Heaven through a different lens, take an understanding of it as a way of being and acting, other than a physical place.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . .
well, what do you think it is like?
How will you sow the Word of God so that it may reap in a hundredfold, twenty, thirty, believers ready to make the Kingdom of Heaven a place for all to come and sit down at the table?
Go in peace!