Jesus told them many things in parables: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path and the birds came and ate them up. 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. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” (Matthew 13:3b-9)
On my daily walks, I pass under a large maple tree. I’ve watched the leaves open, the blossoms bloom, and the seeds grow. Yesterday, hundreds of seeds had fallen and covered the ground. It reminded me of the parable of the sower and seed from Matthew. In this case, some of the seeds fall on the sidewalk and road, and birds and squirrels come and are eating them up. Other seeds have fallen on the lawns, where they grow but are mowed down. Others were blown across the street and fell in the raspberry bushes, where they will be choked out. Others will be blown to grow in places where they can become saplings and some will become trees which will bear their own seeds.
One of the gifts of the parables is that they can be interpreted in many ways. Often, we are invited to be “good soil” so the seeds of God’s word can grow in us. Other times, we are equated as the seed – and we hope to grow in a good environment and be fruitful people of faith.
What struck me yesterday, is that this parable and the maple are examples of God’s abundant grace. The trees create and scatter their seeds everywhere possible and, in God’s economy, each seed provides something, from being food for critters, to becoming nourishment for the soil (those which do not grow or which grow and die out), to becoming full trees. So, this is true for us, whether we think of God’s word as grace sown in us, or think of us and others as God’s seeds sown into this world, God gives us enough and more, to grow and nourish and feed and bear fruit, no matter what our situation in life.
These days, in the midst of so much turmoil and frustration and pain and anger and life and birth and death and despair and hope and joy and tears and laughter, we can know that God is giving us life – and the will to grow, and hope to make this a better world, and energy with passion to be workers of justice with peace. We live into the promise that God keeps scattering, and we are to keep growing and bearing whatever fruit we can. The difference between us and the tree with its seeds, is that we are in this together. We can support and care for one another, we can pray fervently, we can become involved and dedicate our passions to creating renewal and hope. We know that with God and by collaborating together, we can be fruitful, growing seeds of God’s love and grace, wherever we are planted.
God, we offer our lives to be rooted in your Spirit, to grow in your grace, to scatter the seeds of your love, and to bear fruit of justice with peace. For all your abundant gifts we give you thanks. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.