“The Parable of the Sower”
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
July 16, 2017
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ms. Poulos preaches from notes rather than a written sermon … these are the notes from which she preached on July 16th.)
Corn field next to our house: Mother-in-law with dementia looks at the corn each morning and multiple times throughout the day: “look how much the corn has grown.” And “the corn really is growing. Isn’t that wonderful.” Many times, throughout the day we talk about the growing corn.
Parables: Sometimes they seem to be difficult to understand. Ever wonder why Jesus tells us parables?
- Story and Riddle must pay attention to it if we want to understand it.
- Stories To make a point, stories put a face and action to all the words it would take to explain the point.
- Stories use common experiences so they give us a picture and action that we can always come back to.
- Parable as a riddle, hides as much as it reveals about Godlike a kaleidoscope or hanging crystal, they give us many perspectives of the same image. The image and point become clearer, but never fully clear. We cannot have full understanding!
- Seeing from a different perspective is like seeing something for the first time. It is new and full of mystery. It engages us in a fresh way.
The Sower; the soil; and the harvest
- Unlimited supply of seed
- farmer today tends to soil 1st nourish it and prepare way for seed
- Jesus’ time seed first and then turn soil
- Sower is extravagant tossing seed everywhere, even in places where they are not likely to sprout and grow
- Sower is wasteful, even foolish for wasting good seed could be used by someone else
- Might shake our head at the sower action does not make sense to us.
- The Soil:
- 4 types the path which isn’t really soil; rocky soil; soil infested with thorns and weeds; and good s
- Jesus says: The soil is the landing place for “the message about the Kingdom of God” …and the message is “sown…in [our] hearts” (Matt 13.19).
- Soil is a metaphor for heart
- Heart in BibleBrokenhearted; hard hearted; faint hearted; heart ache; heartless; kindhearted; stouthearted; wholehearted; heart’s desire; heart’s delight; heart’s prayer to God hearts that turn back to God; that are given to God; that are loyal to God; that are fully committed to God
- Today (Greek understanding):
- Mind and will are centered in our heads (“I think therefore I am” Rene Descartes)
- Mind, ability to think and reason is ultimate
- heart is the center of our “total personality…intuition, feeling, and emotion” (Dictionary.com).
- Jesus’ time: heart essence of who we are
- encompassed intuition, feeling, emotion as well as our mind and will.
- To have an open heart, all components would need to be centered and equally developedneed an open heart to be a disciple to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as self
- The Seed in Mathew
- Working in Substance Abuse Treatment and Planting the Seed
- Grace of God establishing the Kingdom of God
- Opposition to Kingdom of Godsame as a hard heart
- The Extravagant, Super-Abundance of God’s Grace Seeds flung everywhere is the arena for God’s love and redemptive activity
- The outcaste; the poor; widows and children; all who were unclean and unwanted; tax collectors; and prostitutes Sometimes the wealthy and powerful anyone who could listen and hear the message about the Kingdom of God not possible to be open always, but even a little is enough
- Seeds that come to fruition
- Folks who get clean and sober
- Rooted, sprouting and growing seeds call for a response from us otherwise the seed has not come to fruition
- Carry the message Be a disciple Open heart to someone not like you, someone you don’t like, an acquaintance
- This is what God’ Grace is doing for me
- The Abundance of the Harvest 7X good harvest10X True abundance30X feed a village for a year100X retire very wealthy
- My Mother-in-laws attention to the corn field Like God’s attention to us
- God has an Open Heart No matter what, God never stops trying to get our attention
- Never limits to God’s Grace