The parable of the sower is probably one of the better-remembered stories of the New Testament.
The image of a farmer sowing the seed is one of generosity. In to days world of technology that strives to reduce waste, is obsessed with profit margins and the eradication of human error there is something in the example of a man throwing sowing seed that is almost careless in its approach. The parable is one about sowing, not one that focuses on harvest. We are to sow seed of hope and love in our community. Reflecting on how we do this there are many examples of our generosity Generously – Christmas Cheer ;Christmas lunch on Jesus: Passion and Plenty : numerous Coffee Mornings and Lunches; Summer Fete’s, Quiz nights– these act all bring the community together. The Harvest is of course not to be ignored - but the hundred-fold harvest is not for the farmer alone and nor does Jesus go into detail as to how it is made possible! We strive to find ways of sowing Gods seed of hope and love in this community we are called to live in NOT for our glory or benefit but so that others may have life (eternal life, fulfilled life from God)
As I listen to the words of this much loved parable I think about our life together as a church and how in particular the quality of our welcome.
In October we will be studying, as a parish – all of us! – the “Everybody Welcome” course devised by Bob Jackson. I hope that as many of us as possible will be able to set aside 4 times when we can come together an reflect on our life together and the quality of our welcome.
Do people find it hard work to become part of our life, is it easier for them to walk on and find something else to do with their time?
Do people find us too busy and choked with our own concerns and business to actually stop and listen, to really offer friendship and compassion
Do people find that we are shallow and superficial, that our lofty claims to be loved by God and forgiven by God are exactly that rather than find a community where the call of Jesus Christ, were the values of the gospel and run through all that we do and say?
As I ask you to think about this I also ask you to ask yourself why would you do this? Why should we take out 4 evenings or will be it be afternoons or even a Saturday morning to share together, to listen to one another, to reflect on our life together – is it just so we can be a bigger and better congregation and church?is it just so we can tick a box when the Archdeacon visits us later this week on his triennial visitation?
To create – NO
to allow God to create and make us a truly welcoming community where his word of love and forgiveness, his life of joy and fulfillment can flourish. It requires us to be generous with our time and offer some of it to God so that God can take it, bless it and multiply that gift for the sake of the this world that he created and loves.