Sunday, July 12th, Pentecost VI, the Parable of the Sower
Genesis 25:19-34, Psalm 119:105-112, Romans 8:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Last week I told the story: There was a young priest who concluded his sermon by telling a story and sitting down. The organist and choir director came up to him a while later and said that a choir member complained that if he had known the priest was not going to explain the story, he would have listened closer the first time.
And there was a comment that maybe there was more to this story. And I thought after that maybe some explanation is needed………..
I suspect the choir member was used to hearing sermons where the preacher always explained the story, so the hearer did not feel the need to listen from the beginning.
The idea is that a story has a power of its own and to explain the story is to take away from the power of the story, in other words, the teller explains the story and the hearer can go away satisfied and a can then easily forget the story, but if they have to ponder what the story means it is likely to stay with them longer and mean more to them.
Jesus was in the habit of telling stories or parables without often explaining their meaning. You might think that Jesus in today’s Gospel explains the parable of the sower. But there is more to the parable beyond the explanation……..
There is different ground. There are various ways of looking at this.
The path, are those who hear but don’t understand. Maybe these are the ones who don’t want to think about the meaning of God and life, and perhaps don’t take Spirituality seriously enough. They may believe in God, but this has no impact on their lives. Or they are the ones who use old concepts to try and understand new ideas. Jesus talks about the problem of sowing a new cloth on an old cloak or putting new wine in an old wineskin. Matthew 9:16&17
The rocky ground; are those who receive with joy but have no root, and when trouble comes their joy falls away.
Among thorns; start off well, but the world and wealth get in the way.
The good soil; there seems to be an emptying, as nothing in the way of faith and spirituality.
There seems to be that the rocky ground and thorns are related. The people on the rocky ground feel that their problems are so big that God has abandoned them; God is no help to them. Those among thorns feel that life feels so good and things are going so well that they no longer need God.
The reality is that if we are honest, even though we spend time in the good soil, we have moments of moving into other parts of the ground. There are times we don’t understand, times when we are in the desert or in darkness and feel God has abandoned us and times we get caught up in life and forget about God.
The point of connection to this and the flow are two words, doubt and hope, and their working together.
Doubt without hope is staying on rocky ground and feeling so bogged down with the problems of life we cannot see beyond.
Hope without doubt means we think all will work out exactly as we expect it will, and feel that we are in a sense in control.
The good ground is the challenge of doubt, with questions and that we all have more to learn, and the hope that we can get there and have not arrived.
Maybe asking us these questions;
What is God going to teach me today? And what is my hope for the future?