Patience is Faith in Action
Martin Luther famously said: "If I were God, I'd kick the world to pieces." There are days when I whole-heartedly agree with him. I feel that way because of the big injustices in the world -- hunger, poverty, hatred, greed and violence, but also I feel the anger and frustration that comes with daily living ... with ordinary meanness, pettiness, and the run-of-the-mill senseless, stupid suffering. I'm sure, though, that if you were God you'd be much more generous and gracious than I. Although, I also suspect that nothing would make us want to kick the world apart more than the experience of being God ... and I think this for one reason only ... you may disagree, that's OK ... but here's my reason: For anything and everything good in that happens in this world, there's always someone or something that ruins or spoils it.
This image from Daniel Erlanger's Baptized We Live: Lutheranism As A Way of Life illustrates perfectly what Jesus is talking about when he speaks of the Word of the Kingdom is like seed.
God Gives in Abundance
The Parable of the Sower. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
This week we sit at Jesus' feet as he teaches us about the kingdom of heaven using little stories to show us what it is like to live as a child of God. Parables are short, open-ended stories that invite us to discover the truth and wisdom of God's Word as we wrestle with what this means. In the parable today, Jesus guides the disciples so they can understand Jesus' Word of God's kingdom.
Yet, even with this guidance the open-ended nature of the story allows us God to speak in a variety of ways and on a variety of levels. Today, we're going to think about
Two ways of hearing this parable of the soils. We can hear it as a story about ...
1) My personal life in relation to God's Word, or about 2) Our community life in relation to the Word
Christ Chose You
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
When the boys were a little younger they loved Thomas the Tank Engine. If you're not familiar, Thomas is a small steam railroad engine who is part of a railway operation on the mythical island of Sodor. Each engine has a name and a distinctive character trait. Thomas prides himself on the praise of the railway superintendent who has declared Thomas to be "a very useful engine." And he is useful, able to do a variety of jobs and pull or push a whole array of loads, without usually complaining or questioning why.
Open to Receive God's Grace
When Jesus looks out and sees crowds of hurting, suffering people, he has compassion on them. He feels deeply moved, and he acts to bring the good news of God’s kingdom to the poor, to heal the sick, to bring peace to into the lives of people who are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus' compassion and active love shows us God's own heart and intentions for us, shows us how God not only sees our plight and hears our prayer, but also how God’s mercy and compassion puts God’s love into action for us. In Jesus, God is at work to save us.
One of the ways that God answers the prayers of a hurting world is by gathering his disciples, instructing them and sending them out to announce the good news of the kingdom, to bring the peace of Christ to individuals and households and neighborhoods, towns and cities, to bring God’s healing to all who long for God’s relief.
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