July 14, 2002

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

At about that same time [when his family came requesting him to come away from the crowd and Jesus said those with whom is was gathered were his family] Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.

"What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
"Are you listening to this?
"Really listening?"


"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.

"The seed cast in the gravel-this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."

<The Message>


1. The missing section has the question about what the initial story means. So often we say what we want to say and then we interpret it, whether an inquiring mind wants to know or not. If we simply leave things with statement and interpretation we are no better than spin-doctors.

It is important to listen for the questions people have. Without that we are simply into crass propaganda rather than helpful propaganda. If we do not leave people with questions they can ask we have not been successful in helping to move them along toward GOD-thinking.

2. Was Jesus still thinking about the encounter he had with his family of origin and his family of GOD-investigators when he tells this story? Or is Matthew just stringing stories together and we are off on another series of stories?

Was his family of origin the strangled seed. What strangles families and hometown from the GOD-children and prophets in their midst? What is your own experience in this regard?

Have you found the blessings of being a part of a search party for meaning to bring a harvest beyond your wildest dreams? If so are you continuing in such a search party or have you let it lapse and it is time to again open yourself to being in the best receptive mode you can be?

3. Are you listening to this? Really listening? That means wrestling with the material both on your own and in community.

Or, are you simply waiting for some explanation and you'll take what you are given by whomever you accept as an authority? I'm willing to bet that all given answers will eventually strangle you. [Really listening is better.]

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