Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Parable of the Seed

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 -- Week of 2 Lent, Year Two
John and Charles Wesley, Priests, 1791, 1788

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 953)
Psalms 72 (morning)       119:73-96 (evening)
Genesis 42:18-28
1 Corinthians 5:9 - 6:8 
Mark 4:1-20

Note:  Beginning next week I'll be writing from the Holy Land.  I'm not sure of the hour or frequency. 

Every one of us is complicated, with layers of consciousness and unconsciousness.  There is grace and goodness in the worst of us; there are flaws and limitations in the best of us. 

Each of us is the field that Jesus speaks of today in the parable of the seeds.  God has bestowed upon us all some measure of wisdom, love and skill.  Gifts differ and circumstances matter.

Jesus imagines a farmer who is almost wanton with his seed.  The farmer sows extravagantly, not saving the seed only for those well prepared fields, but throwing on to pathways, rocky ground, and among thorns as well.  God's grace and presence is ubiquitous. 

God is present to us in all of our being.  When we are repeating the hard-traveled, addictive destructive behaviors that limit our freedoms and destroy our lives.  When we are living in places and circumstances that hinder our fruitfulness, the poverty and oppression of material and emotional deserts.  When we are distracted by so many superficial things that choke our awareness and steal our time.  God is always with us -- loving, urging, calling, hoping, forgiving, encouraging, grieving, rejoicing. 

Sometimes we are aware and responsive.  Every human being has some level of responsiveness to God, even if it is no more than breathing the air of God.  All of us have some good soil.  Anyone who manifests some degree of love or caring, some awareness of beauty, some responsiveness to truth, is bearing fruit, "thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."  Every human being reveals some aspect of truth, beauty and goodness, and so reflects the glory of God.  We are all created in the image and likeness of God.

Spiritual growth is to reclaim the thorny, rocky and addictive fields in our lives.  Sometimes we speak of that as the work of dismantling the false self.  Instead of looking to ourselves for security, esteem and power, we look to God.  Instead of clinging to the cultural symbols of security, esteem and power, we turn to God who gives us perfect security and love, and who exercises ultimate power.  Where are my attachments?  What am I addicted to?  How do I make the same mistakes over and over?  Even if I have some awareness of these issues, there are conflictive things below the surface that I am not even aware of.  I think it was Teresa of Avila who said something like, "God in mercy never makes us aware of our sin until God has also given us the grace to confess it."

It is a life's task to clean up a bit of the garden.  Sometimes we see a bit of progress.  We realize that we no longer fall in the same ditch that we used to wake up in regularly.  Occasionally there are leaps.  Something clicks and we abandon a lifetime habit.  There are also setback as well, and we tend to have to reclaim the same territory over and over, sometimes at deeper levels of our being. 

I've quoted Joan Chittister's saying before, but it bears repeating:  "We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again."  That work is personal as well as corporate.  We are gardeners of our own souls as well as caretakers of God's creation.



At 3:24 PM, Anonymous janetlgraige said...

Hi Lowell,

As usual, you are ahead of me. I'm still on the trembling brothers (Genesis) when they realize God knows their sin. Ouch.

I'll get to the Mark reading later tonight - but a story came to me after morning prayer and your reflection.

I used to hike the Colorado mountains quite often. The columbine is a pristine mountain flower that grows singly or maybe in twos or threes, high and close to treeline in the wild. It was always a joy to come upon one or two while hiking. Though pristine, they were hearty and could grow from the side of a rock or in very little soil. I remember though a special day. I wandered upon a hillside of columbines, the entire shady side of a steep hill was covered in columbines. It was incredible - too many of them to count. There must have been just the right amount of wind (to blow the seeds in), soil, shade, etc. But thinking back it reminds me that there are also some wild places in our soul - beautifully unkempt and maybe all we need to do is recognize the beauty that is already there - natural and stunning in its perfect setting.

Maybe we need to look up and out from all the work and just appreciate our own soul - or anothers - seeking those moments of mountain columbines in wild abundance.

Peace and flourishing to you,

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

What a wonderful meditation, Janet.

Thank you. Continue to bloom where you are planted.


At 6:37 PM, Blogger LYNN said...

the two pics came through but the phallic stone was before the wine press. Great information.


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