Sermons 2008
Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Proper 10A 2008 Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

The Sea of Galilee looks like any other beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills, some wooded and some farmland. Jesus sat in a boat and taught the crowds many things. He used words, images, and metaphors in his parables and stories that the people who heard them could understand. Agricultural stories were among his favorites.

His words in the story of the sower and the seed were down to earth. Maybe he was pointing to a hillside and a man planting his crop. Walking on the firm earth, the farmer made broad sweeps with his arm and a quick flick of his wrist. He was planting the crop. "See," said Jesus. "That's the kingdom. That's how God rules in peoples' lives. Watch the farmer. See the seeds."

Half a century ago many farmers in the Deep South were share croppers and hired hands in bib overalls who chewed tobacco. They had dirt under their fingernails, manure and dirt on their boots and work shoes. They raised corn, cotton, and soybeans, and truck crops for themselves and for the local grocery stores. They had a few cows, chickens, and pigs. Their nature was to complain, but never whined or whimpered. And in the spring they were restless. Their fields waited for them. It was their nature to plant the seed.

Good farmers are partners with the earth. They tend it, break it up, kill the weeds, water the soil. Whatever the crop, they all do the same thing. They take part in a great mystery: they put seeds in the ground, cover them up, and watch them grow. Sometimes the seed grows, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the harvest is bountiful, and some years nothing. Some years too wet and some too dry. Every spring tests their endurance, and bank account.

God farms the universe. The very nature of God is holiness and love, forgiveness and compassion. Those good things are hurled into the Creation with great power and an amazing grace, an explosiveness and grace so abundant and so amazing that it flies all over the place. This living word of God falls in a variety of places. In some it grows, in some it dies. But God still sends this seed. We are the soil where this seed falls. As the soil must be prepared for the seed to grow, so our eyes and ears and hearts and souls must be prepared, ready to respond.

There is a story about a thirteen year old girl named Andrea. She hated English ﷓not the language ﷓ just her English class. She sat through her English class three days a week, but she never seemed to hear what's going on. She heard music in her mind. She relived phone conversations with her friends. She saw mountains, and hillsides, and skiing. And she never heard what the teacher said.

One week before the final exam she realized she was failing. She feared the wrath of her parents, and she was determined not to fail. Now she sat in English class and listened to the teacher. She took notes and thought about what was said. She asked questions. The teacher marveled at such effort but says, "Andrea, we have covered this material many times in the past six weeks. Weren't you listening?"

Sometimes we are completely surprised and caught off guard by the power of what God’s love has sown. A friend’s smile warms us; a hymn chokes us up; we hear a prayer aimed straight at our heart; bread and wine for some reason indeed is Christ broken and shed for us; and we wonder why? It's such a mystery. But sometimes we hear. It makes sense. There is something powerful, and we are glad.

But sometimes it doesn’t seem to work. After a lifetime of working, the new retiree decided return to college to realize his dream of earning a college degree. He enrolled in a humanities course He did the readings, took notes, was well prepared for every class.

He wrote a paper on the history of the English language. He worked long and hard on it, gave it all he had to give. But when he got the paper back, it was covered with red ink and caustic comments from a graduate assistant, who had savaged the poor man's paper.

The man showed the paper to his son, a humanities professor himself. The son pointed out good parts of the paper, and showed his father parts that needed clarity. But it didn't matter. The man never took another course again.

We are all .the ground on which God's good seed falls. What kind of ground will we be and how will it grow within us? It’s all always our choice.