Homily by Fr Andrew Manning: Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13 – 12 July 2020

I greet you from the Chapel of St Francis, the Online church of St Mary’s Kingsburgh and The Church of the Good Shepherd Amanzimtoti, where I am the Rector. 

Our Old Testament reading reminds us that there are two opposing forces at work within us, that life struggles and that our own will must become a servant to God’s plan for our lives.

The psalmist reminds us that it is by God’s word that our path is illuminated and that when we dig into his word we will see what our New Testament reading instructs us in – that we are set free to serve God no longer subject to  the condemnation of the law but free to serve God, and therefore we must realise that we are free to serve God where we are and in the circumstances that we find ourselves and where we are sent and in whatever context we find ourselves.

we like the neat fields, we like the ordered life that we have spent so long building customs and traditions around – but

Our lives our neat rows our organised way of being has been disrupted, but the parable of the sower reminds us that God doesn’t always need our carefully worked out neat rows and tilled fields to do his work. We are so acccustomed to trying to be the perfectly prepared soil – that we forget that we are not the soil we are the SEED!!

When we become disciples we become seed that God is sowing – for the seed is the carrier of the lifeforce within it – we are the vessel that contain the love of God – and it is that vessel that God is spreading around in the world to carry His love His peace His joy His life … for it to find a place to take root.

In the parable of the Sower we are not called to be the tillers of soil but the seed willing to be scattered…

God wants to remind us that we are being scattered   we are not to stay stuck in our neat rows and well ploughed customs and traditions – God is calling us into a transformation of our minds – may the Parable of the sower speak to you in a new way today!

The Parable of the Sower speaks about the economy of God and how we need to learn wisdom from nature.

As an Agriculturalist and Environmentalist, I assure you Jesus is not teaching us about how to farm today.

In fact Jesus contrasts our need for precision farming, for optimising returns, and for conserving resources, with God’s desire to provide with abundance. God lavishes his love on us and we are called to be generous with ourselves.

Isaiah tells us (Isaiah 55: 8,9)that God says  that “my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts.”

May our God in his infinite wisdom open our eyes to see how his generosity has won for us the freedom to be generous used by God – for it is we who are given and blessed and broken and sent into the world for God’s purposes.

In this parable we see Jesus teaching us about the lavish nature of God.

We tend to think of ourselves as the good soil – the well prepared the receptive to the Gospel the deserving the chosen….

But in reality the Gospel took root in us amongst our weeds and rocky ground and where our lives have been trampled on – If God hadn’t sown his love into these areas of our lives, it would never have found the deep soil it took root in.

I want to draw on one thing form this parable this morning – and that s the lavish nature of God as opposed to our small mindness.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! “ (1 John 3:1) and if God’s love had not been lavished on us, if Jesus had only chosen the worthy and the holy and the perfect, then we wouldn’t be the children of God, you see if God didn’t sow in abundance and recklessly in the fields  – we who are sinners among the thorns and the rocks and on the paths, we wouldn’t have received his love.

This parable is not meant to make us feel like we are the good soil worthy of the seed – it is meant to remind us that God lavishes his love on our thorny and rocky and trampled lives and somewhere in there it finds some crack some fertile spot and that love takes root.

Now I’m not suggesting that we change our farming practices to the Matthew 13 Method – but I am suggesting that we change our view on the world. Every area of our lives is sacred – if God scatters the seeds of His love among the thorns and there out of his abundance, love won over in your life – we must accept that God is at work in every area of our lives, in every area of the world.

Once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord we are no longer just the soil – the environment that receives the seed –  we are the seed that is scattered into the environment of the world  – weeds, rocks pecking birds and all.

we are the seed that God is spreading – we the seed that  God keeps scattering.

Much of our work in the world is choked out.

Many of our attempts to change things for God, get ignored as if they were pecked off the paths – But God keeps sowing, God keeps sending and God keeps expecting that out of the abundance his love will take root.

Working in the environmental context we learn just how forgiving God’s nature is. Consider how polluted our rivers are, and yet how life makes a plan and overcomes, out of the lavish nature of God – consider how polluted our air is and yet life makes away because of a God who keeps giving and giving – but we not to take this for granted and we need to change the way we think – we need to live in appreciation for the lavish love of God and we need to give ourselves to the things that God has called us to, the hard work and be scattered to be hard at work among the rocks and the weeds.

We need to embrace the lavish of God that has been given us and we need to be willing top lavishly love. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only song that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Our God is a lavish God and he keeps giving and giving and giving and he keeps sowing abundantly and just as he has given Jesus to the world he is giving you and me to the world, as seed bearing truth, as seed bearing mercy as seed bearing his grace, and that seed he is sowing amongst the rocks of the worlds stubbornness, among the thorns of human desires and onto the paths of human prejudice, and hate and selfishness. But it is out of his great love that he sends us and out of his lavish love that Gospel will take root. It will find fertile soil, it will take root and it will grow and bear fruit. So Go and bee the seed of the Gospel for all the world to hear that our God is Faithful and he will not fail us.

May God in his infinite wisdom and grace fill you with his love that you may serve him all the days of your life.

Rector – Fr. Andrew Manning