Monday, July 18, 2011
Seeds of Faith
Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.” And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:1-20
We have a garden, actually three, in our back yard. One is full of flowers that my mother plants every year. Usually, there are a multitude of marigolds, and other flowers she finds attractive. This year there are snap dragons as well as marigolds. Every year in the spring, there are many volunteers, plants that have reseeded over the winter, and despite the fact that they are annuals, they volunteer to come up anyway in her garden. She has a way with plants and flowers, a nonchelant way, and they blossom and bloom like crazy even if she doesn't fuss. The plants respond to her, she talks to them daily and prays for their growth.
Jesus explains the parable of the seeds to the disciples. They don't get it. A majority of fishermen, they have little garden experience. But they learn from this story, that faith and God's word are something to be nurtured, to watch over and pray for growth. Sometimes our walk in faith can be hazardous - storms of life come and try to uproot us, the harsh reality of life can burn up our spirits, and isolation can starve our souls. We are invited to talk and walk with God's word everyday, expecting fruit in abundance despite the challenges and turns in the weather.
Today, I want to give thanks for the possibility of fruitfulness. In the midst of a heat wave and a dry spell, let us all remember that God's desire is for us to be productive, to weather the heat and the storms and to be strengthened daily by God's love. May we all rejoice in the constant gardener, the Creator, who wathces over us, tends us and nurtures us so that we can be fruitful and faithful always.