April 5

Good morning all!

Today’s scripture: Matthew 13: 1-13

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’

Yesterday morning I ran outside in those few moments of sun to do some yard word.  Around here in the valley at this time of year you can literally see things grow before your eyes.  Everything is green and growing out of control and we really don’t have time to mow our lawns in between the rain in the little spurts of sun.  This also means that my yard has a healthy abundance of weeds.  I like to think that I keep the dandelions around for the bees…what else will they eat?  This time of year, the bees are certainly busy.  I literally threw on clothes to get muddy and ran outside to weed my garden beds.  Also during this time of year, if you aren’t planting something in Oregon…it is a sad thing.  We can grow stuff here.  Even now.  So I ran outside and delved into the mud to start clearing out space.  I don’t want to just throw seeds in the ground without doing a bet of prep work.
I want my seeds for food to be successful. It needs to be the right temp and the right kinds of soil.  The soil needs to be alive with wormies and good things.  I don’t want things to choke my seeds (morning glory is evil…I am convinced).  I also want enough space for things to grow healthily and well.  I have a horrible time thinning out my veggies.  It hurts me to pull out starts that are doing so well but if I don’t, then the plants won’t have enough room to grow well.
I was elbow deep in mud and weeds.  I cleared out old plants to make room for new.  I pulled out the flowering kale that I have been eating on all winter and into the spring.  There needs to be room for other greens.  And then I planted some seeds.  This is a miracle in my book.  You plant something that is essentially dead and dormant and it turns into food.  Whoa, God!  That is craziness! We get to participate in that!  We place something in the ground that needs to be reawakened…..brought back to life by the world…..and it needs healthy living to do so….
You crazy parable! You did it again!  Jesus tells these stories that connect us directly to life!  Go read the parable of the sower again…go ahead. I will wait…..
Have you ever gardened? Then are you connecting on a different level to Jesus? Of course, the seeds don’t do as well when they are not in the spot to get success.  Jesus speaks directly to us in object lessons and it makes us understand on a different level.  When I am mud deep, I can hear this story and it opens up to me in totally different ways.  The whole Jesus story does.  All of a sudden, I get new life out of death.  I get good soil surrounding a seed with potential.  The bible is a living document.  Opens in different ways.  Changes with our experiences.  Breathes into us even when we aren’t reading it…we can be out in the world and ….bam!  That story makes more sense now!
Last spring, I asked a family to come and help me clean up my bee hives.  It is hard to do it with just one person in the Spring when the bees are busy.  They graciously came over to help and brought their three girls with them.  The garden was starting to produce.  There was arugula, lettuces, kale, snap peas, etc.  While the parents dealt with my bees, I walked around the garden with the girls answering questions.  Every time they asked about a veggie I handed them a bit of it to try.  Then we talked about how to grow it and what it tastes like and how it will be used. It was so much fun.  One of the girls asked if she could tear off a snap pea and throw it into the ground…would it grow, she asked? So we started talking about the process of seeds.  The seed actually needs to go into a process of death in order to be able to grow during the season. And we chatted on and on….and then I heard myself say, “remember like when you hear in church about death and new life…..”
One of the parents looked up…”really, Court, here you are going to preach about Jesus?” We all laughed and he encouraged me to continue.
But doesn’t that make sense?  Jesus preached in the world with the world in order to get points across.  We get it so much more if we can place ourselves in the story, don’t we?
This morning…step outside and look at the growing world around you.   Does this parable make a little more sense? Place yourself in the world to see how Jesus is teaching you today.

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