Posts Tagged ‘yield’

God’s wild abandon

July 15, 2017

Pentecost 6 – 2017

Matthew 13:1-9

Marian Free

In the name of God who with wild abandon, gives the gospel to all the world. Amen.

[To prepare, I made two copies of Matthew 13:1-9 in large print, pasted it on board and then cut out each word (a). I made another copy, cut out each word and pasted the words on card (b). Begin by introducing the gospel, and then toss one set of words (a) indiscriminately into the congregation. Call out: “catch! catch!” Conclude with “For the Gospel of the Lord”].

Props

I’m sure that you’d agree that was most unsatisfactory and not the most effective way of sharing the gospel. If I were to present the gospel in this way every week it wouldn’t be long before you began thinking of me as reckless and irresponsible and you would be right. Today, as it happens, I have a copy of the gospel that I prepared earlier. It reads like this (read Matthew 13:1-8).

The discerning among you may have noticed a) that I haven’t read what the lectionary has set down for the day and b) that that means that I have omitted the interpretation of the parable. I’ve left out the interpretation for two very good reasons. Firstly – most scholars do not believe that the interpretation originates with Jesus. Secondly the interpretation throws a very different light on the way in which the parable is heard. The allegorical explanation focuses on the way in which the word is received. In other words, it takes the responsibility away from the sower and places the emphasis on where the seed falls. When we pay particular attention to the response of the seeds to their environment, or interpret the different types of ground as belonging to different types of people we overlook the miraculous growth of the seeds. Even though the seeds are sown indiscriminately they still manage to produce a crop that is over and above even the most optimistic of expectations.

You see, in first century Palestine the usual yield of a crop was a modest seven-fold increase on what was planted. In comparison even a thirty-fold yield is extraordinary. A, sixty-fold or a hundredfold yield would be beyond comprehension! Jesus’ listeners would have been absolutely startled by what they were hearing. They would have been stunned by the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of the sower who, through carelessness wastes precious seeds. Then they would have been completely taken by surprise by the yield – grain that has been sown with wild abandon, not only produces a decent yield, but a yield that exceeds their wildest imagination..

What then is Jesus trying to say? Jesus is reminding the disciples that God does not discriminate. God throws the seed in any and every direction heedless of where it might land and certain that there is good soil in which God’s gifts will take root, grow and produce abundantly. God is not careful or sparing with the gifts that God has to offer the world, but generous and reckless, confident that the response to God’s actions will be overwhelming – beyond imagination

God showers the world with love, compassion and goodness, confident that it will land and take root and reproduce those gifts in abundance.

We have no need to worry ourselves about the future of the church, God will ensure that in one way or another people will continue to respond to God and in this way, God’s love, compassion and goodness will spread throughout the whole world.

 

For the children – something like this

The Parable of the Sower (or God’s wild abandon)

I ask the children to come forward. Toss some glitter into the air so that it lands on everyone. Ask if they all got some. Ask if I was careful how I threw it (hopefully they will say I wasn’t). Did I try to make it land on the eldest, or the cleverest or the one who was the best behaved? (Again, hopefully they will say I didn’t.)

Wonder aloud how long it will take to come off. Suggest that they will sparkle all day – just a tiny bit of glitter will catch the light. Tell them that whenever someone sees the glitter it will make them smile.

Tell them that God’s love is like that. God throws love at everyone – the good and the bad, the clever and the not so clever, the old and the young. If we know that God loves us, we will love ourselves and everyone else in the world. Just like our tiny sparkles of glitter make people smile, our love will make other people feel loved and God’s love will grow and grow and grow until the whole world is filled with love.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: