Anyway, last Sunday's sermon was on the gospel reading in Matthew. The parable of the sower.
I love this parable of the sower. It is so rich in imagery that you can just see the sower spreading the seed and knowing that some, hopefully most, will flourish and some may not. People are like that aren't they. I would like to think that all of you are flourishers.
Jesus is very much a realist in this passage. He knows that the word (the seed) will not thrive everywhere that it is planted. After all, as you will remember, there was one group of people who tried to throw him off a cliff. Some who hear the word do not understand it. Others hear and respond with joy but they don't let it become a part of their lives. Some hear it, understand it, but cannot get beyond the worldly attractions. And then, finally there are the ones who are the good soil. They hear the word and they live according to the word.
So, what does it look like to live according to the word?
The other day I was at the grocery store and a man walked past me and said, “Hello Padre'” I said hello back and we both moved on. As I was nearing the end of my shopping, I was standing in front of a frozen food section and he came up to me again and he said, “Father, what church are you from?” and I replied, “St. Andrew's here in Chariton.”
He paused and said, “And what denomination would that be?”
I said, “Episcopalian.”
He pulled from his pocket a roll of twenty dollar bills and handed me two of them. I tried to say I would use it for the food bank but he interrupted me and said, “I don't care what you use it for. Go out to eat if you want. Just take it.” So I simply thanked him. He then proceeded to enter the liquor section of the store.
So, Where does this guy fit in our sower parable? I have to tell you I felt very highly toward him at the time, but the thing is it would be a mistake to try to fit him somewhere in this parable. I don't know if this person is a seed on the path or a seed among the rocks or one on good soil. Remember, we are told not to judge.
What we are told. What the word tells us, is to love our God and to love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor is casting a very wide net. The other day we were at the museum's ice cream social and one act melo-drama. The melo-drama had a good character, Dudley Do-right and a very bad man, Snidely Whiplash. When Dudley came onto the stage we cheered and when Snidely appeared we booed and hissed.
In the real world we are told to find a way to love them both.
We are told to love people we know and love people we don't know.
Let me get back to our parable of the sower. It would seem to me that if we are truly seed that has taken root in good fertile soil, then we will naturally take on the role of sower as well. We do that by living our lives in a way that fits with our Christian beliefs.
What does that mean? Living our lives in a way that fits those beliefs.
I made my own list.
Don't be critical of others.
Talk about my faith when the occasion arises.
Go to church
I read this story on line the other day
A mother went to wake up her son to go to church one Sunday. When she knocked on his door, he said, “I'm not going.”
“Why not,” asked his mother.
“I'll give you two good reasons he said. “One, they don't like me and two, I don't like them.”
His mother replied, “I'll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One you're 47 years old and two you're the pastor.”
This story reminds me of Marion Miller. One of her favorite sayings was, “Go to church on Sunday. That's just what you do.