Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Sower Went Our to Sow

Next week, July 13, the following readings will meet us on Sunday morning. Perhaps we can learn together what it means for God's Word to be a "lantern unto our feet" the sower goes out to sow...

Collect of the Day for July 13, 2008

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.

Genesis 25:19-34
These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is to be this way, why do I live?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the elder shall serve the younger."
When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, "Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!" (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright." Esau said, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?" Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Psalm 119:105-112 Page 772, BCP

Your word is a lantern to my feet *
and a light upon my path.
I have sworn and am determined *
to keep your righteous judgments.
I am deeply troubled; *
preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.
Accept, O LORD, the willing tribute of my lips, *
and teach me your judgments.
My life is always in my hand, *
yet I do not forget your law.
The wicked have set a trap for me, *
but I have not strayed from your commandments.
Your decrees are my inheritance for ever; *
truly, they are the joy of my heart.
I have applied my heart to fulfill your statutes *
for ever and to the end.

Romans 8:1-11
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law-- indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

A Sower Went Out to Sow
Note here the role of “The Word (Logos) of God. For as the sower goes out to sow, so the word of God finds a home in the human heart. Likewise, as in the psalter, the Word of God becomes a lantern to our feet. In Romans Paul understands that because we live in the spirit we are no longer in the flesh, in a sense and so we come no longer under the law, but under the authority of the Word of God. The story of Jacob and Esau and the selling of the birthright (or pledge of “word”) between two brothers…is of great interest Thus next week we are invited by the lectionary to consider the Word of God…and our word to one another as central to the ordering of our common life.

I came across a few thoughts with regard to "the word". I shared them on Sunday and several folk asked for copies of what I said; Here then, a few simple thoughts:

Illustrations #1

God spoke and it was so. God spoke simply: Let there be light. Let us make humankind. Jesus spoke with similar simplicity; “Love one another”. It really is as simple as that. Churchill summarizes well, the power of a single word: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope”

Illustration #2

Years ago I heard an old saying that has stuck with me through the years. It is one of those sayings that takes the same words, and rearranges them slightly to make an unforgettable point: the one to which I refer is; “I shall not live till I have seen God, and when I have seen God I shall never die!”

Illustration #3

Some say God is silent! Not so.
The Scripture is the Word of God, and has much to say. In the prologue to John’s great Gospel, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and Jesus is a never ending word of love in my heart. And according to Meister Eckhart: “Every creature is a Word of God”.
What a marvel that God is so articulate when so often so many cannot hear a word of God.

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