Friday, 8 July 2011

July 10th

Ears to hear?

If you’ve heard the Gospel story before you probably know it as the parable of the sower. But a better title is probably the parable of the seed. The whole point of the story is what happens to the seed. It is scattered by the sower – broadcast, thrown all over the place. The sower is generous, almost wasteful, in the way that he scatters the seed. He doesn’t look at some areas and think “there’s no point in scattering there” – he risks throwing the seed everywhere.

This is a parable – so Jesus is telling us this story to show us what the kingdom of God is like – what God is like – and Jesus demonstrates how this liberal generosity works.

A great crowd of people are listening to Jesus. They are stood on the beach. listening to Jesus talk from a boat. Jesus’ words go everywhere – he doesn’t try to control who hears the message of God’s love – he wants everyone to hear. Jesus starts his story with ‘listen!’ and ends with ‘let anyone with ears listen!’. Anyone with ears – that doesn’t really leave anyone out, does it?
God’s message of love, like the seed, goes everywhere and everyone can hear it. Then what?

Different things happen in different places and at different times – not because the seed, or the message, is different, but because we, the listeners, are different at different times.

At the Parish Church this morning we had a baptism and I gave a short sermon on this parable.
I imagine some people there were not really listening. They might have been there to support the baby’s family, but they weren’t really expecting to hear anything very interesting in church this morning.
The path. The place where the seed has no real chance at all.

Other people there might have been listening, but they were not really ready to take things to heart. By the time the get to the party for little Corra they might say “that was a nice service” but have forgotten any detail of what happened of what was said.
Rocky ground. A place where things can’t go too deep.

Other people might have been miles away through the service. Worries about health, about money, about relatives – all sorts of things can crowd into your head when you sit quietly in church.
Weedy ground. A place where any message of love gets choked by other things.

But some people might have listened and perhaps have noticed for the first time that Jesus talks about God’s love for them. Maybe a seed has started to grow as they’ve realised that Jesus wants them to listen and to hear that God loves them and that their lives could be different and more loving, with God’s help.
Good soil. A place of growth and a place where love can grow.

Jesus says ‘Listen!’ – and some will, and some won’t.
And what about you?
We all have good days and bad days.
Hard days, stony days, thorny days.
Jesus invites you to open your ears and your heart to accept the seed of God’s love.
Let that message sink into you. Be good soil.
See how God’s love can grow in you and produce a wonderful harvest.
Receive the love God offers in Jesus – and be prepared to grow and be fruitful in his name. Amen.

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