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Sow Some Seed -- Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (Sixth Sunday After Pentecost)



This summer, we have been worshipping with the theme, “Together We Create” – as we move through these dynamic, changing times – together we serve, together we live life, together we create.


o We began with this theme a few weeks ago with the creation story in Genesis 1, exploring what it means that we are created in the image of God. God has created us and empowered us – and all creation – to create – to continue to co-create with God. Being creating beings is part of our DNA.

o Then, moving on into Genesis, with Sarah, we considered the creative power of hope – God’s power to create through and beyond our imaginings.

o With Hagar, we considered the creative power of lament – to break something open in the world, to name something true – the pain of the world – our pain – and to make room for the creation of something new and healing.

o And last week, on the Fourth of July weekend, we considered our “freedom for” – our freedom to live for the good of each other – to create together, with God, a world where everyone can live free.


And this morning, we come to this parable that Jesus tells where folks are going about the work of creating – this Parable of the Sower – rolling up their sleeves, getting their hands dirty – sowing and harvesting abundant crops with God. Together we create.


The Scripture is read.


Parables are tricky. They present like these harmless little stories, told by Jesus. Some of them almost quaint. But the more you look at them, the more questions they raise. The word “parable” means “to throw alongside.” [1] With a parable, the storyteller throws a story alongside some bit of life, and says this is like this – what do you think? In the Gospel of Matthew, it’s often “the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. The kingdom of heaven is like a net that catches fish. The kingdom of heaven is like a hidden treasure. But you see, as soon as you start telling those stories, you start to go, “Huh? How’s that so?”


This week, Patrick told me that the Holy Play curriculum describes parables as little gifts; every time you unwrap them there’s a different present – you find a new meaning. I like that. I might describe them as puzzle boxes – you turn them around, look at them from every angle, slide the doors, move the pieces – and with each move, you discover something new.


Amy Jill Levine – a professor of both New Testament and of Jewish studies – approaches the parables as the 1st century Jewish stories that they are, and she cautions that we can’t reduce any one parable to any one meaning.[2] As stories, she says, “they evoke numerous meanings; our job is to sort them out.” She says we do that, first, by trying to understand them in their 1st century Jewish context: How would Jesus’ listeners have heard them? And then we try to understand how they translate into our world.[3]