Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Parable of the Seeds

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 -- Week of 2 Epiphany, Year One
Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:
http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/category/holy-women-holy-men/

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 944)
Psalms 38 (morning)       119:25-48 (evening)
Isaiah 44:24 - 45:7
Ephesians 5:1-14
Mark 4:1-20

The parable of the seeds is such a wonderful description of the internal landscape of each person. 

There is so much that God teaches us and calls us to through scripture, tradition, and circumstance.  We receive the invitation to faithfulness in so many different ways.

We are blind and deaf to some parts of the call of God.  We aren't ready, and so we can't hear.  We don't even know what we don't know.  There may be a moment's insight, but it disappears quickly because of our own state of immaturity or blindness.

More frequently, we hear a word from God and can embrace its calling, but we don't have the perseverance and discipline to continue to live that way.  We all have stories of failed plans and disillusioned ideals.

The most abundant landscape is that of the thorns.  We are consistently in competition with "the cares of the world, and lure of wealth, and the desire for other things."  Our highest calling is so often choked off by these distractions and desires. 

And there is the good soil.  In each of us there are habits of heart and practiced virtues that have become grounded in our character.  We're all fruitful in some ways.

It seems to me that it is a good thing to recognize and celebrate the ways we have become helpful to God or fruitful in our own lives -- the fields where there is good soil and good practice that produces virtue. 

Much of the work in our spiritual landscape is the slow, plodding business of pulling weeds -- dismantling those habits and addictions that choke our best selves and resisting the weariness and inertia that tend to let the thorny weeds lie.  Letting go of our attachments is hard, monotonous work.  It takes patience and perseverance from season to season. 

There's not much progress in the spiritual life.  But once something gets deeply rooted -- a good habit, an enlightened discipline, a practice of virtue, a healthy boundary -- the harvest is bountiful.  The words in the parable speak of profound abundance and productivity -- "growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold." 

It only takes a bit of persevering, weeding and planting to claim some new ground.  Inch by inch, we can become more the person God has created us to be.  Or as Joan Chittister likes to say, "We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again."

Lowell

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Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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