Pentecost 6 – Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16, 2017  

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

“A sower went out to sow.”

We could say “A farmer went out to farm.”
We could say “A gardener went out to garden.”

Jesus said “A sower went out to sow.”
He was planting seeds.

Unintentionally Thursday, right before working on my sermon, I was out in our peace garden walking around. I remember when the garden was a thought a few people had. I remember looking at the various gardens within the garden, thinking “hmmm… I don’t know… is that going to work?” I didn’t have a vision of what the garden would look like after it had established itself. I wasn’t at all sure what our gardeners were hoping for.

Now look at our peace garden. If you haven’t taken the time, walk through it. The garden is lovely. Absolutely lovely. It is a peaceful place in a busy neighborhood. As it was intended to be. Our gardeners and their assistants have done a wonderful job.

Which makes me think about what gardening is about.

Gardening is about hope.

Those of us who garden, we garden on a wing and a prayer, with a lot or a little knowledge thrown in. Sometimes what we know about gardening we have learned the hard way, making mistakes that teach us what not to do next time. Sometimes, what we know about gardening has been taught to us, information shared by a friend or neighbor. Sometimes, gardening is in a person’s DNA. We grew up gardening. Our mother and/or father, grandmother and/or grandfather gardened.

I come from a family that gardens. At my dad’s parents’ house there was a garden almost as big as their yard. It had flowers and vegetables in it. Their compost pens (they were too big to be bins) were the size of the side of the garage. My grandma spent a lot of time in that garden. I’m supposing my dad and his sisters did too, whether they wanted to or not.

My parents had huge vegetable gardens at their house as we kids were growing up. The five of us kids spent a lot of time in those gardens, whether we wanted to or not. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen dealing with the fruits of those gardens, shelling peas, chopping beans…

I remember my first flower garden. My mother gave me a corner garden in the backyard. Although I like vegetable gardening, I prefer flowers. I love seeing flowers bloom, digging bulbs, moving plants…

Gardening is about hope. When our gardening hopes are fulfilled, it is wonderful.

The parable of the sower is often misunderstood. Folks think it is about US planting seeds, US as the gardener, US as the farmer, US as the sower.

The story is not about us. It is about God.

God plants seeds in the world, those seeds being God’s Word. God’s Word is planted in our hearts, in our lives. God’s Word is planted in every heart, in every life. Sometimes the Word is planted in good soil, and it is tended, and it is nourished, and it grows and bears great fruit. Sometimes the Word is planted in rocky soil, or on a hard path, or in the hot sun, or among thorns. Even when tended and nourished, the Word requires extra tending, the Word requires extra nourishment. If we want the Word to live and to grow and to flourish, that extra effort is required.

God planted, God plants the seeds. Have no doubt about this, those seeds will grow. God’s kingdom will come.

What we need to do is to figure out what our hopes are, what do we hope grows in God’s garden?

God planted seeds of hope. Seeds of Life. Seeds of Forgiveness. Seeds of Grace. Seeds of Welcome. Seeds of Understanding. Seeds of Peace. Seeds of Respect…. SEEDS OF LOVE.

Are those the seeds we tend to? Are those the plants we nurture? Are those the gardens we help grow?

The last month or so, I haven’t been able to do much gardening. But I walk around our yard, taking photos of our flowers as they bloom. That’s kind of how I’ve felt about my ministry here, I haven’t been able to do much gardening. But I have been walking around, looking at things. I’m thinking about what needs watering, what needs pruning, what needs planting or re-planting. You all have thoughts about how this church, this garden grows. I hope you will share them with me.

Wherever we live, whatever we do God’s Word lives in our hearts and lives. God’s seeds have been planted. The Sower has sown.

Thanks be to God for the love God plants in our hearts and in our lives.

Amen.