Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65:(1-8), 9-14; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Our readings today contain many images of the chances and challenges of growth. Each seed spread out into the world has the potential to unfold and expand, to flourish and to nourish others in its turn. A well-tended harvest may yield a hundred times what was planted.
Yet it takes so little to thwart growth. A poorly chosen site, badly prepared soil, the whims of weather or an indifferent caretaker can stunt, disfigure or annihilate a young plant. It can be discouraging to reckon up the number of obstacles that impose themselves between the promise and the performance of new life.
Why struggle to grow and to tend growth when the odds seem so greatly stacked against us? Is this what Paul is warning us about, as he compares the mind set on the flesh and the mind set on the Spirit? Do we sometimes choose the voice of limits, the voice of an understanding of the world unleavened by hope?
There’s another voice that promises abundance and expansion. It invites us to wonder at and bless the seeds sown in us, and the seeds we sow. It won’t keep the birds off or pull up the weeds – that’s our job. But oh, what a lovely garden we might grow.
Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in our Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.
The featured image is of St. James’/Iglesia de Santiago, Alameda from “Looking Forward/Looking Back: Thirty Churches of the Episcopal Diocese of California” by Bill Van Loo.