Worship Time
  9:00 AM
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East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com

July 12, 2020

Matthew 13:1-23

Matthew 13:1-23

13That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow.4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!” 

[vs 10-17 explains why Jesus is speaking in parables…]

 18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When 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. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet 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. 22As 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. 23But 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.”

 

12 July 2020

 

Farmer Evans was driving his John Deere tractor along the road with a trailer load of fertilizer.  Tim a little boy of eight was playing in his yard when he saw the farmer and asked, ‘What’ve you got in your trailer?’

‘Manure,’ Farmer Evans replied.

‘What are you going to do with it?’ asked Tim.

‘Put it on my strawberries,’ answered the farmer.

Tim replied, ‘You ought to come and eat with us, we put ice-cream on our strawberries.’

 

There’s nothing like Farmin’

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

My husband can quote long passages from movies with unerring faithfulness and one of those passages is from the Natural and the title of the sermon today.  The movie is about a person with natural Baseball talents … at one point the manager Pop Fisher says: You know my mama wanted me to be a farmer.

There’s nothing like being in the field with the corn and the winter wheat.

The greenest stuff you ever saw …

And the natural, Roy Hobbs, says: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.

Jesus speaks to the people of His time in many metaphors.

He calls fishermen to become “fishers of men” …. 

Jesus speaks of the sheep and the sheep herder

And He speaks of the rich fool who builds bigger and bigger barns for His grain

Refer to :  The Seven Species ( Hebrew: שבעת המינים ‎, Shiv’at HaMinim) are seven agricultural products – two grains and five fruits – which are listed in the Hebrew Bible as being special products of the Land of Israel . The seven species listed are wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranates, olive (oil), and date (honey) ( Deuteronomy 8:8 ).

Fishing, animal husbandry and farming for the staples of life… Jesus did not come to the select priests but to the priesthood of all people and the life in community.

Sowing seeds is not like amateur or hobby gardening.  We tend to plant a limited number of seeds – maybe we start them early and when the seedlings are started we plant them one by one…  Often the manual speaks of “thinning out the plants” if the seeds have been started in the ground.

What have you planted this season:

Some people carefully weed the garden and others let the plants grow with the weeds until the strongest ones survive. 

Sowing seeds in a large plot is more of a generous broadcasting … Like the sower in this story.

Jesus gives the disciples an interpretation of the people who listen to His preaching and their diversity:

The story of the sower begins with a fact that the world is full of people who are at different stages in the process of being able to hear what is taught- [repeat]

And at different times in our lives we are at different stages in the process of being able to hear what is taught…

Some people have minds and hearts that are fortresses:  the door is shut, the ground is hard, the walls are built of prejudice, pride, fear and lack of a spirit of adventure.

There is an American folktale that goes like this …

            A farmer was working in his field when a stranger approached… The traveler asked: “What kind of people live in the next town?”

            Without pausing from his work the farmer replied: “What kind of people lived in the town you just left?”

            “They were horrible! “ the traveler said waving his hand for emphasis.  “People were dishonest, selfish and inconsiderate.”

            The farmer looked up and said, “I’m sorry to say that’s probably what you’ll find in this town, too.”  The stranger moaned and walked away.

            Late in the day another man happened down the same road.  When he saw the farmer he called out:  “What kind of people live in the next town?”

            Without pausing from his work the farmer replied: “What kind of people lived in the town you just left?”

            “They were thoughtful, friendly and kind.”  The traveler said.  I hated to leave them.

             The farmer put down his hoe, extended his hand and smiled, “I’m pleased to say that is about how you’ll find folks here.”   The traveler returned the

             smile, shook the farmer’s hand and headed toward his new home.

The farmer in this story knew something very fundamental about people.  We carry our world views with us.  Looking at the same situation we may see it very differently.  As travelers we wear a set of emotional lenses thru which we process what we sense about life.

In the explanation of the parable Jesus mentions the message of the Kingdom is thwarted by lack of understanding, lack of endurance in the face of challenges and by competition with “the cares of the world and the lure of wealth…”  There are so many ways to avoid listening to the call of God in our lives.

Thank God there are people who, like the good ground, are prepared to hear with an open mind, have the willingness to struggle with what he or she hears until there is comprehension and then translate God’s message into positive change, transforming the place where they live.

 But what really impresses me is the generosity of God who generously provides sun and light and water and self-reproducing plants… rogue cherry tomatoes, grape vines, kudzu

This is the season of the produce….

God so loves creation that Love… like manure for the strawberries is all about being Faithful to the task until the harvest….  Strawberries with ice cream does not happen unless the farmer loves the task as well as the produce…. 

We hear the sad news that parables are being used because many cannot or will not hear.  That faith, hope and love are often missing in human experience.  That we need to see the generosity of God and change the structures of this world to reflect the fact that God is faithful inspite of the fact that:

God Knows the limitations of the people who will hear that God is Love,

that some of them have been abused by their past experiences and their circumstances…

That some are too proud to listen …

That some do not understand Love, that it needs to be anchored, rooted so that when trouble or persecution arises it can weather the storm. 22

That the cares of the world and the lure of wealth can choke what is good, in creation. 23

But with the right circumstances: faithfulness, hopefulness and Love – with God- we indeed bear fruit in amazing quantities.

Every Christian is a sermon to a needy world – we preach where we live, we preach by word or action when we listen to family members or neighbors struggle with life issues and ask them to listen to God’s advice for them.

We preach where we work – especially when it is volunteer labor – We must foremost respect individuals in all aspects of life.

We preach where we play, by our choices about how we perceive “winning,” by who we play with, by the rules of the games we choose.

 If we are disciples of Christ we preach with our lives and our words because we do not act as the rest of the world acts.  If we are Evangelical, we walk the walk as well as talk the talk:  we are GOOD NEWS Bearers: not just to the safe people

 [believers- people who have been brought to receive the good news by some earlier disciple] ie. “preaching to the choir”

[people we “know” and therefore can predict will deal with us gently whether they agree with us or not]

The disciples thought Jesus was the most wonderful and wisest of persons, but they knew discouragement because he had relatively little effect on the world of his day. 

The doors of the synagogue were shutting against him.

The leaders of religion were his bitterest critics and were obviously out to destroy him.

So many came to Jesus only for what they could get ie. healing

The story of the sower speaks to God’s preaching people, Christians who consciously live a testimony to Christ and who get discouraged.

Be not discouraged!!!!   Keep sowing the seed!!!

Knowing the challenge, when all appeared lost… God so loved the world that God sent Jesus to teach, to preach, to live and die for Everyone…

In this post Christian era we must scatter the seed everywhere.  People may never have heard the story of God’s Kingdom…  They may never have been in a church in their lives.  Hard for us to believe… but [Story of Russian immigrant]

One of my neighbors whose French Bulldog and Zoey greet each other, heard I was a minister.  The dog’s name is Louis … the man’s name???  But he didn’t know much about Christianity.  He self-identified as ”atheist” from Russia and nominally from Jewish ancestry.  He wanted to know about the Craigville Conference Grounds… UCC related until recently, he asked “is it a cult?”  Everyone has not heard the message of Christianity.

Jesus was able to challenge us to the Harvest… For Jesus says the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…

“There’s nothin’ like farmin’” for the farmer.  And I mean to be one too!

 

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734
harwichumc@gmail.com