Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — July 16, 2017
A Parable of Hope
When reading this parable, I thought of a song about people being seeds in God’s hands. My second thought was that this is not so. Jesus, while unclear in the first telling, is very clear in discussing it with his disciples.
The sower is God’s law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). The law of God is love. As Jesus explains, the Word of God is available to all, but not all those who hear it, really hear it. The seeds are the words used to tell the gospel. This is actually a parable of hope.
The seed that falls on the path is like the person who hears the gospel, but Satan in the heart of the listener is quick to denounce it, and it withers. The seeds on rocky soil spring up quickly, but having no root, quickly wither and die. Some who listen will accept the gospel with joy, but when trouble enters their life, they quickly fall away. The seeds among the weeds are the ones who hear the gospel and respond quickly, but are choked out by the weeds of worldly care and the lure of wealth. The seeds on fertile soil represent those who hear the gospel and follow, and let God develop their gifts and spread the gospel further, bringing in up to a hundred times the original seed. The harvest is large enough to make up for the lost seed.
This parable is for those who spread the gospel. If we try to be a living example of God’s law of love, some of the people we reach will respond like the seed sown in fertile soil. And perhaps the person who does not respond to us will hear the gospel again and maybe many times before they accept it. Our telling could be the first or the last. Hope. Peace. Love.
Martha Griffis, elder, Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania