Sermon Summary for Sunday, July 16th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley
Our celebrant and preacher, The Rev. Joe Herring, led us in worship for his third Sunday and we are truly grateful for his ministry among us. His homily centered on the Gospel reading from Matthew. It was the parable of the sower and is probably the most popular parable since it is recounted in three of the four Gospels. Though Father Joe admitted that the words of this scripture may not have been Jesus’ words because of the influence of the Church who used it to point out the struggle of those who heard the word. Still, its richness and pertinence make it important to our lives today.
Regardless of who the sower is, God the Father or God the Son, the strength of this passage cannot be ignored. The seeds are the Words of God and we are represented by one of the four types of soil upon which the seeds are sown—the path, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, the good soil. How we each accept the Word and live into it determines the type of soil that represents each of us.
The seeds sown on the path are eaten by birds because the soil is uncultivated and hard. This represents those of us who hear the Word, but do not understand it and pay it no heed. When seeds are sown on the rocky soil they flourish at first, but the seedlings soon wither and die because they have no root. The rocky soil represents those of us who have “mountain top experiences” and act on the emotion of the moment, but when tested, we lose our enthusiasm and turn away from our acceptance of the Word. When the seeds are sown upon the thorny soil the plants are choked out by the weeds. We in this group hear and digest the Word, but are lured away by the temptations, obsessions, and addictions that smother us and our Christian endeavors. Finally, seeds sown on the good soil flourish and yield fruit beyond belief. In my mind, this speaks of the saints among us who never lose their focus on being Christ’s hands and feet here on earth.
Father Joe pointed out that there are two ways to think about heaven. Some say it is a shining home in the sky where at the day of judgement, hopefully, we will all be reunited. However, Jesus came to earth to establish a kingdom in our hearts. That is why we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” He came to reign in our hearts and to guide us to do the will of the Father as we treat each other with dignity and attempt to spread the word of salvation to all. Our job is to be in the world and assist in the building of his kingdom in our midst.
At this point, we must each ask ourselves, “What kind of soil am I?” It is reassuring to remember that soil can be tilled, fertilized and conditioned. We might not start our journey as “good soil,” but study, prayer, and work can help us become fertile and productive.