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July 12, 2020: Sower, Seed, Soil

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There’s a lot to consider in this parable. Three nouns jump out in particular: sower, seed, and soil.
SOWER

  • Why is this person so bad at throwing the seed? You’d imagine that there would be a little more focus.
  • It reminds us, however, that the Word of the Kingdom is everywhere. It’s indiscriminate, and available to everyone no matter where they are or what position they’re in. That’s grace!


SEED

  • The seed seems like a good seed. The same seed can bring forth grain at anywhere between thirty and a hundredfold yields.
  • The Word of the Kingdom is rich. These text are rich, full of meaning, and can cause significant change is lives.


The main variable here is the SOIL:

  • Our interpretation of the soil is defined by hearing and understanding.
  • Hearing
    • a willingness to take heed of what’s being heard.
    • In all four situations, hearing begins each. Without even hearing, there’s no chance for anything at all.
  • Understanding
    • Is more like a synthesis - literally a bringing together of different facts and coming up with a solution. Letting what is heard take root deeply.
  • When you keep those in your mind, you can begin to see how each of these soils reacts to a good seed:
    • In the path, there is hearing but no understanding. It’s easy for it to be plucked up and away. This is almost like hearing a
    • On the rocky ground, there is hearing, but no depth to understanding. The synthesis doesn’t have any place to take shape in our lives… it’s just going through the motions but not connecting to anything else. There are why “mountaintop moments” can be so difficult to recover from - all our emotions lead us in one direction, but they’re temporary, so are likely to dissipate, and we wonder if God has left us.
    • In the thorns, there’s hearing and synthesis, but it’s choked out by deceptions. Promises of a better abundance are somewhere else, and so the synthesis isn’t permitted to hold. It’s interesting to think of the (literal here) deceptions of wealth as choking thorns. But, many of us can feel this pinch - our desires to attain an abundance of possessions and resources means that we are willing to work harder, do more, and at some point it may run counter to what we read in the gospel. And so the difficulty of resolving those feel like the gospel can be choked out, or bent around to avoid the thorns.
    • In the good soil, not only is the word of the Kingdom heard, but it’s also allowed to go deep. It seems like its allowed to set good root - nothing stops it. And, over time (certainly longer than some of the others, it seems), good fruit grows.
  • So how to do we maintain good soil?
    • Even when we give up our burdens and take on Christ’s yoke, it’s an invitation to allow the word of the Kingdom to go deep - we’re allowing the bringing together to occur. (Remember the Pape quote? "What Jesus offers is not freedom from work, but freedom from onerous labor. Soul-sick weariness is not the inevitable consequence of all work, but rather of work to which we are ill suited, of work extracted under compulsion and motivated by fear, or of work performed in the face of futility.”). This work is valuable.
    • We remember that soil can always be amended - Romans reminds us that the Spirit that revived Jesus Christ from the dead is the same spirit in us!
    • It’s also a chance to take some of the soil around us and to amend our own as well. There are many folks who have worked to be wise, to allow the word to go deep and try to connect it - to bring together different ideas. But even that takes a willingness to listen and understand, to be amended.
    • Perhaps more than anything, however, it seems like it’s a willingness to take time, and engage.

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