Creation and Seed Sowing

In their first Creation story (Genesis 1) the Hebrew Poets beautifully craft a beginning – seeking to answer the most profound (and basic) of human questions:  “Who are we?  Where did we come from?  Where are we going?”

This past week’s gospel account from Matthew has Jesus teaching his listeners from a boat on the sea using what’s deemed “The parable of the Sower.”  This parable is our diocesan theme for the year and the theme my team (The Rev. Sean Maloney and Cathy Villani) will be drawing from during our week at Camp Capers.  I believe these two stories are vitally connected and that the particular way that the poets tell their truth actually and deeply shapes the truth of the parable Jesus uses.  Here’s what I mean…

In the formless void of that particular beginning, God is the first sower.
Using words like “Let there be light” as His seed, God sows and sows and sows until the formless void has substance and order and Eden, which means “beauty.”

First he sows the heavens and earth and then light and dark and then land and sea.

And if you listened really carefully today (and two weeks ago) you caught some of the genius, some of the brilliance of this wild sower: all that God creates has within itself the ability to create. The land that God sows, itself puts forth vegetation.  The seas that God spills out of his seed bag themselves bring forth aquatic life.  The earth gives form to cattle and creepy things.   And each of those creations, the plants, the fish, the beasts all have the potential to create as well – to multiply and fill the earth with their offspring more numerous than the stars in the heavens.

And then, in the place of Beauty, into this EDEN, God sows the seeds of humanity.

And again, from the earth, man and woman are formed and with his own breath, his own life source, God this reckless sower (Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.) breathes life and creativity into his creation.

Humanity, God-imaged, is gifted with the same seed spreading nature as our first sower. Like the rest of creation, once planted and grown, we too get to participate in creating new and abundant life and that IS beautiful.  And so by design seeds become sowers.

“Let anyone with ears hear!” says Jesus as he teaches his disciples using these multilayered parables that confound their understanding.  Conjuring images and metaphors his students would easily relate to, he twists the endings of stories, he uses double meanings, he tries to get them to see the world, themselves, one another with renewed perspective.  Jesus is the second sower.  He sows the seeds of a new way of life, a new and fuller way of being, and he completely embodies that life that he is harvesting.  And by the end of this particular sowing day, the disciples are left wondering, “Am I rich, nurturing, good soil?  Or am I rocky, dried up, harsh ground vulnerable to birds and thorns and heat that might snatch or strangle or scorch this new life planted in me?”

These difficult questions that this parable raises are indeed its intention: as his followers wrestle with it’s meaning and their place in it, they are harvesting the seeds the sower has sown.  And this new way of life, what we might call the kingdom of God, begins to root itself more deeply in them and break into their daily existence, growing and stretching.  And so again, by design, the seeds become sowers.

And now, like the disciples before us, we have some wrestling to do.

If the scriptures, from the poetry of Genesis to the parables of Matthew, are to be anything more than ancient words on a page, if they are to be the Living Word, then you and I must do the work of both

finding ourselves in these stories and finding these stories within our own stories. Once we find ourselves in and find in ourselves these living words, we are naturally and irresistibly moved to act.  We are the next sowers.

Compelled by Jesus’ teaching, compelled by his life, death and resurrection, compelled by our baptisms into his new way of life to sow with wild abandon, not worrying ourselves about which kind of soil we are planting the seeds in.  Just sowing.  And sowing and sowing and sowing.  Trusting that there is some kind of method in the madness, that some kind of beauty and order and vast gardens will bloom, that the creation we participate in will take an amazing form that will give life and facilitate life for all.

And now we’ve come full circle, back to that particular kind of beginning, back to that Garden where we began.  And that’s our Sower’s intention, is it not?  To step into those places of darkness and void in our lives, those places that seem meaningless and without order and to sow a new beginning?
For us to once again walk with him in the midst of that creative creation, growing more and more fully into our roles as co-creators, co-sowers with him?

You see, seeds always become sowers.
That’s how we’re designed.

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