Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday Sermon

I enjoy this parable from Jesus here because Jesus gives an interpretation of not only the parable but the reason why he speaks in parables to his disciples.  Clearly Jesus is telling us here that to be a true disciples we must understand the greater meaning behind his parables and read/listen to them prepared to have more revealed to us. 
Jesus explains that some just aren’t going to get his message and some will only get the surface of his message but blessed are those who do understand.  But I think truly what is blessed is not only understanding but doing and being.  It is one thing to understand or memorize that the Area of a triangle is ½ base x height or that to find the percentage you use x/100 = is/of.  It is another to be able to use them to do basic math and actually be right.  Jesus doesn’t expect his disciples and all those who claim to be disciples to just understand or memorize his parables he wants us to live by them, to use them to guide our life. 
None of us walked with Jesus 2000 years ago.  But we can have conversation with Jesus through the Word he left behind.  We can use this Word to guide us in our everyday life and show us the path to grace.  This Holy Lenten Season, let us crave time out of our lives to do just that – starting with the Parable of the Sower – let us take a lesson from Jesus on how we should live our lives more fully for the Lord.
Some seeds fell on a footpath and the birds came and ate them.  Jesus explains this as letting the evil one come and snatch the seeds away.  We see this in our world today don’t we?  When we let the world come before our faith…when we skip Sunday morning church for coffee and the paper, rewarding ourselves with a relaxing morning before first giving thanks to God for all we have.  But the evil doesn’t just have to come from the demands of the secular world – it can also be people and groups that we allow to continue to snatch our seeds away.  This can be dysfunctional relationships that keep God’s seeds from planting and flourishing.
Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rocks.  Jesus explains this by saying “The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy but like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep.  At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.”  And isn’t this the truth!  How much faith can we have and share when we are in a sacred and safe Holy Place?  How much can we believe in God and share that faith when we are with others who are like in mind?  How easy is it to be the silent Christian when we leave those safe sacred places for the secular world? 
And in the same vain, there are the seeds that were planted in the thorny ground which represents those who hear and accept the Good News but all too quickly the message is crowed out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth so no crop is produced. 
But finally some seeds fall on the good soil whose hearts truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest.
This Lenten season, let us focus on ripping our soil  - nourishing our soil so that it becomes rich and good – weeding our soil from the cares of the world so that we may have more time to focus on Worshiping God – picking out the rocks, so our roots can grow deep and finding paths that avoid the evil that snatches our seeds. 
Let us today, begin to embark on a journey with the Holy – enriching our lives with the goal to not only produce thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what has been planted but also with the goal of becoming Sowers ourselves – spreading God’s amazing grace to all we meet.