Christ the Seed!

Christ the Seed!

Genesis 25:19-34 
Psalm 119:105-112 
Romans 8:1-11 
Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

‘If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.’ Romans 8:11

Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

What a big week it has been whanau. I know there so much uncertainty still effecting our daily lives and for some of you, life will be getting tougher, if it isn’t already, and I’m sure there are many more challenges that we must contend with in our immediate futures. I say this because we faced a couple of big challenges this week, met some great people, made new friends, welcomed home others and we had an awesome working bee yesterday at the church. Thank you to all those that turned up, cleaned up, painted, stripped the scaffold and fed us. It was a great week of seeing community in action! All this, and we are not ready to return to worship. There is still more work to be done on our whare karakia, inside and out, both physically and spiritually. But we are getting there.

I hope you have read all the readings set out for today as they are excellent to ponder and reflect upon. Our gospel is the parable about the sower and the seed. As you may or may not know, parables are stories with different types of stories inside the story, unless you are only looking for one. And today’s parable is no different and it seems so relevant to what is going on in our lives and in the world. There’s the sower or the farmer, the different soils and the seed. When you get past the farming analogy you will see that Jesus isn’t just describing different types of soil or circumstances of life. He is describing the various states of the human heart. We see them in others and we see them in ourselves. What we discover is that we are rarely just one type of soil. We are all four. The four soils describe how we live and relate to others and to God. Jesus tells us what happens to the seeds and he describes the consequences of each kind of life.

The parable invites us to reflect and examine the kind of life we are living. That’s important and there’s nothing wrong with doing that but we reduce the parable to one obvious question. What kind of dirt are you? And of course, we are quick to point out what type of dirt someone else is too. But when we do that we put ourselves at the centre and push the sower into the background. The “what kind of dirt” question is not the only way to read this parable. And that’s when you have to be careful because the question you ask may just be the distraction that takes you away from other ways of reading this parable. 

That’s the difficulty of parables. We tend to read and try to understand parables through the lens of our own worldview. The result is that we hear but do not understand, we see but do not perceive. Therefore, the parable doesn’t make sense. A farmer goes out and sows seed on a public pathway, on rocky ground, and amongst the thorns. That’s simply wasting resources and it’s bad farming. You can’t plant seeds on a pathway or among the rocks and thorns and then act surprised or complain that nothing grew. The story Jesus tells simply doesn’t fit into our world. To know that is the beginning of understanding this parable.

Parables offer a different worldview. They give us a glimpse into God’s world and what God is like. They open our ears and our eyes so that we might hear and understand. Parables aren’t meant to test how clever we are. They are stories of grace that test our heart’s willingness to surrender to the generosity of God. That’s what the parable of the sower reveals. As different as the four soils are they all hold two things in common. Seeds and the sower. The sower sows the same seed in all four soils with equal work, equal hope, and equal generosity. The sower does so without evaluation of the soil’s quality or potential. There is no soil left unsown. No ground is declared undeserving of the sower’s seeds. This is not about the quality of the dirt. It’s about the quality of God, the divine sower. We want to judge what kind of dirt we are. God simply wants to sow divine life into ours. And that divine life is Jesus Christ. No life or person is left out, no soil is left unsown. This so humbling when you think everything is fine and you got everything under control and then you realise that it’s not you but God directing our lives and everything we do and not us.

This parable is about God’s faithfulness and not about farming, soil quality or how things work in this world. In God’s world, wastefulness gives way to hope, inefficiency to love, and profitability to generosity. As long as we remain faithful and keep sowing Jesus Christ wherever we go and allowing our lives to be sown with the divine seed of God then the end result must surely be to become more Christlike. Amen.

Farmer God. Good soil brings forth a hundredfold of grain. May we be that soil; vibrant, deep and teeming with life. Through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

The Venerable Kaio Karipa
Sydney Maori Anglican Fellowship Church of Te Wairua Tapu