Thursday, October 27, 2011

Evil vs. Good Dirt

“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 has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along 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 he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he 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 deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23G

Yesterday, I was asked what I do by a nurse practitioner at my pain management appointment. When I told her I was a bishop she told me about her church and her attempts to read the bible. She then asked me where to begin. I suggested she start with the Gospels. Later on she was asking about Halloween. She thought it was evil and the devil's holiday. I explained to her the Christian roots, All Hallows Eve and how it was the one day of the year when the poor could demand food and treats from the rich. She got that it was about turn-about, and justice not about evil. The dressing up was to disguise identity from the masters and land-owners. She seemed to understand, she wanted to learn and thanked me for it. Then she went and talked with one of the other women in the office who verified what I had told her.

Jesus explains the parable, the story he has been telling about how we receive faith and apply it. It is ironic to me that this parable is about planting and reaping in a time when we as a country seem bent on demonizing our migrant farm workers and vilifying those who are willing to do the back breaking labor that no one else will do. Many of the rest of us are willing but don't want to bother getting informed and grow. Others are easily thrown off the path but temptation, tribulation and peer pressure. But those who are willing to grow, to be nurtured and to nurture, those who are willing to be weeded of false ideas and put faith into action - these are those who will find life full and abundant. If we use our gifts, what has been planted within us, then God will supply the increase. If we use what we have for justice for others than we will know true abundance.

Today, I ask God to help me use my gifts, skills and knowledge for the benefit and care of others. May each shared gift add to another's abundance and growth. May all of us offer what we have for justice and mercy so that God's planting might benefit the least among us and all may know the touch of God's abundant love.

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