Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
The Sower and the Seeds
1-3 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: 4-9 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 18-23 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Thoughts from Jess: I was living in the Middle East, when a friend of mine called and said she had a dream and wanted me to help interpret it. An interesting request for me with my western mindset. My friend is a Muslim Arab woman who believes in and values messages in dreams like many others in her culture. I was happy to be included in helping her understand the meaning. We met in her apartment with two of her sisters when she told us about the dream. She started, “In my dream there was a farmer spreading seeds. Some seeds fell on a path and were eaten up by birds, others fell onto the fertile soil and took root….” She continues to tell the dream that so closely correlates with the parable in Matthew 13. She ends the dream by saying “ I go up to the farmer and he shows me a book and tells me life is found in it. He opens the book and a light so bright shines out of it I can’t even keep my eyes open.” I sat there stunned. At first, I thought maybe this was a joke then realized she probably never heard this story before because it is not in her holy book, The Qur’an. “I think I know exactly what this dream means.” I opened up the Bible I pulled out of my bag and read the parable to her. As I reflect on this experience, I believe that God speaks to each person and does it in many different ways. I’m amazed that God pursues and reaches out to all people. The response is really up to the individual’s heart. God never forces you, it’s always an invitation. Each person can cultivate the state of their heart in order for the deeper things to take root or not. The parable of the sower speaks of our hearts by imagery of the earth, soil, dirt. Lasting growth takes place in the good soil while stunted growth, or even death, comes from a hard or shallow heart. My friend’s dream was a seed and I still do not know what kind of soil it landed on. But, whether a footpath or field, God spoke!
Outward Mindset Application
Pay attention to your senses and attempt to understand what places of growth may be there in that experience. Let the seeds take root.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Contemplation (loving the world through inner reflection): Contemplate on the state of your heart. Is it open to receiving new life and growth or is it hard and thorny? As you think of all the ways God can speak, has God been speaking to you? Maybe you haven’t noticed it was God. How do you hear God?
Questions for Reflection
This week, what is one way you can keep your heart open and ready to receive? When something catches your attention, whether something beautiful you see, words spoken or a dream, stop and think what could this be communicating to me?
One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We would love to see you there!
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“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.
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