Monday, July 14, 2008

The Proper of Yesterday: The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Van Gogh, Sower with Setting Sun

Yesterday the community of St. Thomas's in Vernon gathered as one body at 9 AM, as we inaugurated our Summer Schedule. We heard the story of Esau and Jacob and some stew (it must have been really good!) and from St. Paul as he explains, in language that we have to be careful of today, about spirit and flesh. And we began a miniseries from Jesus on the Kingdom in the first of several exceprts from what many consider the central discourse of Matthew's Gospel, Ch. 13. There's a lot of agricultural imagery coming up in the next few weeks!

I wrote my sermon in note form this week, so it will likely be a bit choppy. If I have time later I will try to fix the bullets.

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Vernon
Proper 10A RCL 2008
Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
The Rev. R. F. Solon, Jr., Vicar

May these words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Amen.

· Distractions
o In the world – Times Square, ads
o In our lives – family, job, the economy, all sorts of things
o I often get distracted by the Internet, or by baseball, by my own finances,
o Things trivial and important distract us from what we’re meant to be
· Distractions throughout today’s Scriptures
o Esau distracted by his hunger
o Paul talks about the flesh vs. the spirit – really talking about whatever is of the world
o Jesus in the Parable of the Seeds
§ The Path – no soil at all = no understanding of the Word
§ Rocky Ground – no depth
§ Thorns – Weeds, choked the Word out
§ Good Soil
o Distractions there are the Rocky Ground and especially the Thorns

· Point of the Parable is clear
o Earlier, in Ch 10, we received some instructions on how to live in God’s kingdom, God’s economy, if you will.
o Last week Jesus invited us to take off the burdens of the world and out on his backpath
o All of Ch. 13 is about earthy images
o It’s about God’s Kingdom and how the world will react to it
o One of the only parables clearly spelled out
o Each of us is a type of Ground that the Word – the Seed - falls on
o The parable attempts to explain why not everyone is getting the Good News
o Of course, we’re meant to be the Good Soil, that produces 30, 60, or 100x
o I think most of us are mixtures of soil though….
§ We want to be Good Soil, but we often find Thorns – Distractions – in our lives that keep us from acting out the Good News
§ Sometimes we’re even Rocky ground – not so much depth to our trust in God
o We can cultivate better soil within ourselves – don’t have to assume we’re stuck
§ Get rid of some rocks
§ Pull some weeds
o How?
§ Coming here to St. T’s - best way to get the Water for growth
§ Often not enough though – distractions are with us 24/7 when we aren’t here
§ Pray – start by saying grace at every meal
§ Read the Bible – Forward in Faith, Daily Office, even Random Access
§ Do some service – the Hostel, some gardening, Harvest House
§ Make some quiet time each day
§ Talk with others – get a spiritual director even
§ Read a good book about spirituality or spiritual practices
o Staying rock free and weed free is hard – lots to distract us
o What’s your soil like right now? What can you do to get rid of the rocks and the weeds? Do you feel like you can produce 30, 60, or a hundredfold in your life? God does. So do I.
o How about here at St. Ts? What kind of soil are we in right now as a community?
o Each of us can live up to our potential, live the life God intends for each of us to live and in this community.
o We don’t simply have to accept the kind of soil we are. Get out those hoes and wheelbarrows and trowels and Round-up!
o Distractions will always be with us – our job is to make our spiritual soil as productive as we can, so that we can [read the collect]


O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



the Reverend boy said...

OK we're sort-of channeling each other again ... I haven't put my reflections to paper yet, but my notes were going along the lines of "the Father is the Sower and Jesus is the Word, the seed sown ... sown everywhere" and asked folks "What type of soil will you be?"

Good stuff! Thank you.

RFSJ said...

Thanks, RB. This parable is in all the Synoptics and so it's often difficult to approach it with fresh ears, I've found, epsecially as it's one of the few that actually come with an explanation!