"And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:4-8
This time last year we had already planted most of our garden. Here in Alaska it is something we will do a little later than in New Jersey. Most of the yard here is given over to a co-op so we will probably have most of our plants in large boxes on the porch. We do have potato plants started in our windows and look forward to getting out hands in the soil, planting seeds and tending them as they grow.
Jesus was using parables to help people understand their faith and God's love for them. They had lived by very rigid laws and the dictates of the religious leaders. Following Jesus meant they had to take responsibility for their faith and their relationship with God. They had to tend their faith, had to nurture love and compassion in their lives and would need to remember later hoe he taught them. He taught them through pictures drawn with words of familiar scenes that they could comprehend and remember. They could share their faith through these same stories. God invites us to move from absolutes to relationships, to faith lived by dictates to faith as a never ending story. We are participants in the life of faith and desired by God to be in relationship.
Today I ask God to help me live the story of my faith by seeking to nurture love and compassion day by day. May we tend the fragile seeds of faith, water the growing ones and in all things be tender gardeners of our own faith and of others. May we never blatantly destroy the tender shoots nor walk callously over the fledgling garden. May all that we do plant deep roots and nurture love today.