Parable of the Sower – Lesley Shatwell’s sermon July 2014

Jesus said, “Listen! A sower went out to sow”

Swoosh – that’s the seed thrown from the sower’s hand
Swoosh, clitter clatter – that’s the sound the seed makes when it falls on the path.
Then there was a flapping of wings, a pecking and a squawking.
Did you see that?
I thought there was seed sown,
but I must have been mistaken.
All I see are birds,
there’s no seed on the path now.

And Jesus said, “Listen!”
Swoosh – the seed from the sower’s hand again
Oh, look, there will be good blackberries this year, but mind the thorns, nothing else can grow in that dense thicket.
Jesus said, “Listen!”
Swoosh – there’s the seed again from the sower’s hand
Yes, yes – we all know the story,
the seed fell amongst rocks, shot up, got scorched and died
Tell me something I don’t know.
Listen
Yes, I’m listening! I’m doing my best.
But sometimes, no matter how hard we try,
we don’t understand,
we just don’t get it.

There was a missing section from our reading today
– the bit where the disciples question Jesus as to why he talked in parables, in riddles.
Why can’t he make himself clear,
then we’d all know what he was trying to say.

Now the disciples are on a fast track,
Jesus has work for each one of them to do
so he explained the parable to them.
They heard the original,
they listened,
they questioned and they were answered.

So why is it that when we listen, really listen
and even when we have something explained to us,
why is it that sometimes we still don’t get it?
It could be that we are just in the wrong place
at the wrong time
and it’s nothing to beat ourselves up about.
It just wasn’t meant to be.

It could be that we don’t speak the language.
I was in France last week, my French is pretty good,
but sometimes someone would say something totally incomprehensible to me.
Even when repeated, still I couldn’t make it out.
I hear the words, I listen,
I know they make sense to someone,
but I can’t understand.
It’s frustrating.
And how can you react, reply, respond if you
don’t understand?

I wonder what the very first people thought when they heard Jesus tell the parable of the sower?
Well, I suppose they might have wondered why any sower would waste so much good seed.
Perhaps there were some in the crowd who just zoned out, it wasn’t relevant to them, perhaps they were fishermen
stupid farmers, wasting good seed –
what does that say to me?
Talk to me about fish, then I’ll listen.

God, the sower, is just wasting his time.
But nevertheless, God keeps sowing more seed

Listen
Swoosh, that’s more seed.

OK, some won’t ever bear fruit.
There too many distractions we mean to do God’s will, but we are easily distracted.
Someone has a better plan – let’s go out this evening, let’s have fun, it’ll be OK.
Well perhaps it will, perhaps it won’t,
but are these thorns?

Swoosh – God keeps sowing more seed
And now we are listening.
This time it seems like a really good idea,
it’s great for a while.
Our plans are going well, we’re engaged, purposeful
and really, really mean to do so much …
but,
that’s the sun coming out and
our roots aren’t that strong.

As God keeps sowing more seed, perhaps this time it will find good, fertile soil.

OK Nice pictures:
so what does it all mean for us today?

In our parish there have been changes, I know,
one has dramatically affected me.
My call to serve God has taken me away from St Georges for a while and I miss you – I will be back now and then.
But a seed was sown.
Seeds sown call us to change, to adapt, to grow

Some may not like what is happening, everything moves too quickly, we’re in danger of losing what we have,
what is special to us.
Yet others will be dreaming dreams and wanting to share their vision for the future
God has made us each different. Unique.
Within each of us at any time, there is a variety soil which will be fruitful or not. It’s just one of those things.
Our parish has something really special, an inner core of prayerfulness, joy and peace.
Our parish is outward looking and welcoming to all.
Our congregation are loyal, generous, hardworking people who come together and share God’s love.
What is God sowing within us?
Yes, we’re listening to God,
we are all praying,
we are waiting to hear God

In fact we are all doing everything we can.

And Jesus said, “Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

Many seeds are sown continually
The seed which will grow our community
has been sown
and it will bring forth grain,
some thirty,
some sixty,
some a hundredfold

Lord God, open our ears to hear your word
open our minds to listen and understand
open our hearts to bear fruit and to do your will
Amen

Matt 13.1-23: The Sower: 20 07 14

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