Sunday, July 10, 2011
Teaching by the sea
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Good soil is not always easy to come by. We have planted gardens before, but this is the best soil we have had for a garden in many years. And yet this soil too has many challenges. The soil is very sandy here at sea level and we had to add some nutrients and manure before we could plant. Now we have to watch for pests and there are pest a plenty. Rain water can run right off of sandy soil and so we have to make sure the small growing plants are watered well. Yielding healthy vegetables is a challenge where ever one is. Even here in the garden state there are challenges which keep abundance from happening. A tender gardener is needed always, one who care for the plants and soil in all sorts of weather.
Jesus tells the people about the love and activity of Gos. So many people come to him by the sea, he has to get out on a boat and talk to them. I sometimes wonder how they heard him. Getting out on a boat in this part of the world would make hearing impossible. The surf can drown out most other sounds. On a quiet sea, he made the hidden wonders of God real to them and he used the images they would understand. He drew pictures with his words so that they might see themselves in the story.
Today I give thanks for all of the many ways God is made known to us. In the telling of a story, in the pounding surf, in the abundance and challenges of the garden. God is not willing to be far off but will speak to us over the oceans and chasms in words and pictures we can understand. May we all listen today for the still small voice of God which thunders over the loudest seas - loudly whispering love to all.