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
We have some raised beds and planters that we have filled with vegetable and herb plants. Everyday we go out and water and look them over. We are not great gardeners, but we are enthusiastic. Enjoying fresh produce from our own garden is a delight. It doesn't really matter if it's a bumper crop or if we only have a few, it always is joyful. The whole process is a delight.
Jesus is teaching the crowd and he tells them a parable about seeds that fall in different parts of the field. So often we think this is a story about how we must be good soil, good seeds and excellent crops. In fact, all the circumstances are gifts from God. The abundance and the rocky ground, the drama and the joy are all parts of our lives lived here now. God invites us to be as rich soil as we can be, and to give thanks even when we find ourselves in shallow communities and situations which don't foster life. God invites us to see love manifested in all our days and seasons.
Today, I ask God to help me live grateful for where I am sown. May we all find joy in the challenges as well as the abundance, as God is daily giving us a sure foundation of love.
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.