God Pause for Friday, 7/11/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Friday, 7/11/2014 Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

This parable tempts me to reflect upon the tasty orange tomatoes we ate last night straight from our garden. I am also tempted to wax on about the accompanying South Carolina peach that encountered only one middle step between the farmer's hand and my mouth. (Clearly, these first two sentences suggest I succumbed to the temptation.) I use the word "tempt" for two reasons. First, because the temptation is to avoid focusing on the bigger picture; that is, the elements of the garden/farm that are struggling or do not produce at all. Second, this is a temptation because focusing on my garden is not the point of this parable. In fact, this parable on >paraballo>-ing [literally: 'to throw out alongside'] seems to throw out for our consideration the idea that we, as the soil, "cannot by our own effort or understanding" become different kinds of soil. But God, so extravagantly and seemingly capriciously, throws out a word that cannot help but nourish us into becoming bearers of fruit for his sake.

Generous God, lead us not into the temptation of distrusting the power of your word and deeds by placing ourselves in the role of the sower. Instead, help us recognize that any yield we bring to your world is by your work in, though, and alongside us. Amen.

Shauna Hannan Associate Professor of Preaching, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C. Master of Divinity, 1998

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (NRSV)

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 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. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!" 18 "Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 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. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 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. 22 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. 23 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."

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