Saturday, July 12, 2014
Sunday, July 13, 2014
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 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!’
Listen to your life
Listen … listen to what your life is telling you. Listen … to what God is saying. For God is speaking … to you … in the events of your life.
Every moment plants something in you soul. Every moment … the living Spirit of God sows seeds of his love and mercy, his justice and truth in your lives. But to receive them you need to listen with faith … and an open heart.
Last week I met with eight or nine members of our congregation talking about our Bridge Communities ministry. We have completed working with our second family through the two-year process that moves them from homelessness to independence.
Now, we face a decision. Are we ready to begin with a third family? Can we gather a team of mentors to work with the family, helping them develop good judgment and practices that allow them to succeed?
Can we raise enough money to maintain a healthy balance in the Bridge fund from which we pay the monthly rent for the families we sponsor?
We talked. We heard from those who mentored our first two families, what was hard and easy. We heard the struggle of thinking nothing was happening, no progress was being made--and the joy of seeing growth n strength and independence.
We learned again how our congregation gave money and items from your homes to help furnish apartments or provide computers and health care to get the families back on their feet.
And as I listened, a voice in the back of my mind asked a question, “What is this telling you? … What is God saying?”
It tells me God is a sower. Seeds of God’s life have been planted in your souls. They have taken root and grown in the life of our congregation.
It tells me to surrender my tendency toward negativity, to see the glass half empty. It tells me to let go of my anxieties and trust that God’s love and will be enough for us in our life and ministry together no matter what happens.
It tells me we need to celebrate the power of God’s love among us. It tells me real joy is found in the community of people who know and live the love of Christ.
This was a moment of hearing the word of God.
The word of God is not what you think. It is not a book. It’s not ink on a page. It is the speaking of God in time and space, in my history and yours, in the life of nations, their joys, sorrows and follies.
The word of God is not words so much as events, moments through which God speaks in the flesh and blood of our experience, planting seeds of his love and wisdom, mercy and justice in our lives.
Every moment … our loving God is coaxing you to the let the moments of your life water the seed of Love that is God’s presence in your hearts.
Every moment is holy, and your life is the holy ground in which Christ seeks to grow the Love of God that he is, so that you may become like him, an image of Christ. How’s that going for you?
The process of through which this blessing happens is not complicated. You need not go anywhere or accomplish anything. You just need to listen. What is your life telling you? What is God saying through the common events that happened each day?
Too many days we just don’t know. We are too busy, too preoccupied with the external details and diversions of life and entertainment, or too shallow and too disbelieving to think that is exactly in our moments that God is speaking.
We fail to look within and listen to what God is saying, and the seeds of God’s life and love fail to find good soil and root and grow.
But this has been a good week. On several occasions, I sat with small groups where people talked about struggles that were keeping them awake or experiences of helping others.
Ideas were shared, encouragement given, insights appeared. Conflicted souls began to let go of things they could not control. Others took hold of ministries and values important to them.
We listened and helped each other listen to our lives. And we heard the word, God speaking.
In the incident with which I began this sermon, the Bible was not opened, but the word of the God who is Life and Love was heard. Having heard, we had more life and love, more joy, more hope and strength for Christ’s mission, and God was glorified.
The seeds of God’s life and love found fertile ground and grew … because we listened to what the Spirit was saying.
I wonder … what if every day, every evening … you and I stopped, reviewed our day and asked ourselves … and those near us … what did this day say to us? What see of life and love did God plant in our hearts?
For God is a sower of life and love … and we miss far too much.
Pr. David L. Miller