(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)
The gospel according to Matthew this week continues with the Parables—oh, so many parables from which we are to gain understanding. For some of us, these are very, very familiar. We are of the generation of Godspell, an off-Broadway 1971 production that retold the parables of the Gospel of Matthew. The production was met with controversy, not the least of which was that Godspell, as written, failed to show Christ’s resurrection. It was almost as if the parables and their lessons were lost in the “controversy”. The composer Stephen Schwartz attempted to forestall the controversy in his directives to producers noting that the point was that, despite the pain of the crucifixion, Christ’s followers were joyful and resolved in facing the future. Are we joyful having learned the parables? Are we resolute to accept our charge as Jesus’ followers? Post your thoughts on our website.
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. . . . 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!” . . .
From sermon4kids.com: “When we hear the word, and we listen and try to understand what it says and put it into practice in our daily life, then we are like good soil. We are like soil where the seed takes root and grows and produces a plentiful harvest. That is the kind of soil that Jesus wants us to be. What kind of soil are you?”
Scripture: June 28, 2020—Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65: (1-8), 9-14; Romans 8:1-11; and Matthew 13:1-9,18-23. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Genesis 25:19-34 and Psalm 119:105-112.
Collect: 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.
Reflection: How is God’s resurrecting Spirit at work in you and in your community? Where are you experiencing new life? Where are you struggling? How might God be bringing new life from that struggle?
Saint Focus: Conrad Weiser was a clear witness to peace and reconciliation in early American history. He served as a diplomat between the Pennsylvanians (where he lived) and the Iroquois. Many of his negotiations were done when the weather was brutally cold. He and his wife had 14 children, though only seven reached adulthood. Following his death, the relationship between the Pennsylvanians and the Iroquois deteriorated, a tribute to his impact. Be sure to follow the link below for more details. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were:
- 11; Benedict of Nursia, Monastic, c. 540
- 12; Nathan Söderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala and Ecumenist, 1931
- 13; Conrad Weiser, Witness to Peace and Reconciliation, 1760
- 14; [Argula von Grumbach], Scholar & Church Reformer, c.1554; AND Samson Occum, Pastor & Missionary, 1792
Ear Worm: “Thou visitest the earth” by Maurice Greene; “O Master, let me walk with thee“, hymn in beautiful a capella harmony; “Bring me a little water, Sylvie“, sung by women in United States Navy Band (go listen)
Sower of living hearts, / sower of tenderness, / sower of courage, / sower of service, / sower of prayer, / sower of light. / Lord, sow within us!
Sower of gifts, / sower of forgiveness, / sower of faith, / sower of joy, / sower of life, / sower of the Beautitudes. / Lord, sow in the hearts of all people!
Even if we are hard as stones / be patient with us! Your Good News / will manage to slip / between the tight cracks / in our rock and will / grow into giant sheaves / of Good News!
© Charles Singer and Albert Hari, Experience Jesus Today
image is “Wheat field with crows” (1890) by Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh Museum, France.
Read the gospel aloud. Re-read silently. Think about the different kinds of soil. What is in your life today for which the soil be a metaphor? What would be the rocky ground, the path, the good soil? Where or how does the seed take root for you? Are ways in which we can help the seeds find good soil in us? Share. [based on “Seeds and Soil” from Lessons that Work (Episcopal Church) https://lessonplansthatwork.org/2014/07/01/seeds-and-soil/]
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
In reading through the Gospel of Matthew, we now reach a section of parables told by Jesus to reveal the nature of God’s Kingdom. This particular parable of the sower describes the basis for our growth in faith and ministry. We must be rooted in the Word of God. Our weekly gathering in Eucharist and our daily prayer and scripture reading are essential parts of this rootedness. We also meet Christ, the living Word of God, in ministry to the poor, the sick, and the neglected.
Track 1. The first reading continues the story of the Hebrew people. Abraham is dead and Isaac is now head of the family. He has twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau, born first, was the heir but sold his birthright to the cagey Jacob, who will later cheat him out of Isaac’s blessing, as well. Yet God will one day intervene and bring hope and redemption out of this scandalous behavior.
Track 2. The first reading from Isaiah also uses the image of planting a crop. Its promise is that God is to be counted on to bring about in us growth into holiness. Just as rain waters the earth and can be counted on to bring about the growth of plants, so God’s presence within our community is bringing about growth in righteousness.
In the second reading today, Paul continues to elaborate on the nature of the new life we have received in baptism. As we live in the Spirit rather than according to the world (the flesh) we are discovering more fully that we have been adopted by God as children. Thus we can count on God’s faithfulness to us and on our ultimate glorification and eternal life.
We gather to hear God’s Word. That Word is not simply the objective written scriptures, however. Above all, the Word is Christ and our celebration centers on meeting him and receiving him, the Word of God incarnate.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.