Sunday, August 08, 2010

Aug. 8 Sermon: Parable of the Sower: It's in the Way that you use it.

Isaiah and Matthew

Sermon Notes:

Wanted to give you a taste of the things we taught around 24 kids this past week at Vacation Bible School. Our theme was the parable of the sower, and the two lessons we really drove into the kids was that the seed falls on people, who are represented by the different kinds of soil, and that planting seeds is something that God loves doing, and that we can learn a lot about God by planting seeds—by getting our hands in the dirt and by having a relationship with the natural world.

Song has been going through my head in my preparations for this weeks sermon, Eric Clapton’s 1986 hit from the movie “Color of Money” It’s in the way that you use it.

Truly, this is one of Jesus’ points when telling this parable. One key part of our relationship with God is “in the way that we use it.” Is the seed brought to it’s potential by falling on nourishing soil? Meister Eckhart, a 14th century mystic preacher and theologian, wrote, “The seed of God is in us. Itf you are an intelligent and hard working farmer, it will thrive and grow up into God, whose seed it is, and its fruits will be God-fruits…Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds grow into nut trees, and God seeds grow into God.”

The song is from the movie with Tom Cruise as the protégé of a famous pool hustler named Fast Eddie Felson, played by Paul Newman as the continuation of a part he brought to life in 1961’s “The Hustler.”

Can you imagine if you were able to speak about your faith life like Eddie talks about playing pool? Can you imagine following Jesus with such a sense of purpose and determination. The thing is, Jesus’ followers were told that they were “losers” because of what they stood for too. In fact, it’s one of the hardiest weeds out there seeking to choke the life out of the kingdom seed that is within you—that you’re a “loser” if you take the side that Jesus took. You watch and see. You teenagers about to start school: Imagine the things that Jesus would stand up for, and the way standing up for those same things would brand you if you really stood up for them.

But, if you are fertile soil, and that seed takes root in you. It doesn’t matter what people say, because you’re in the flow—you know you’re doing what is right. I want to be in that fertile soil! I want to live outside the grasp of the weeds or the birds. I want to sink my roots down deep into God so that the Sun, the passage of time, makes me grow and give fruit instead of whither and fade.

Teilhard de Chardin, another mystic, wrote, “God…is not far away from us, altogether apart from the world we touch, hear, smell and taste about us. Rather, God awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment. There is a sense in which God is at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle—of my heart and my thought.”

God is interested in what we do with that seed.

In the sequel to “The Hustler,” Scorcese’s “The Color of Money,” Fast Eddie Felson has learned some of these lessons (the hard way) and seeks to mentor a brash young pool shark who reminds him of himself. If you use the gift of pool as the metaphorical seed in Jesus’ parable, you see it passing quite nicely through the different soil types in the life of Tom Cruise’s character.

Jesus says the Kingdom is like the seed that that the sower goes out and casts in all directions. Sometimes it lands on the path and the birds come and eat it, sometimes it lands on the rocky soil, and the sun scorches it. Sometimes it lands among the weeds, and they choke it out. And sometimes it lands on the fertile soil.

The other angle our VBS took with this scripture is that being fertile soil for God’s Kingdom seed involves having a sense of responsibility for God’s creation. Do we treat the Earth as though it is “Just Us,” or though it deserves justice?

Avatar—relationship with the natural world. Understanding that we are interconnected with the life that inhabits the fields and woods and streams around us. The way we live makes a difference.

It’s in the way that you use it.

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