sermon on Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Not long after I started seminary, I looked up where that word came from and discovered that seminary means “seedbed.”
If we’re talking about trying to plant and cultivate the seed of faith, then seminary seems sort of like an odd greenhouse for its late start. With the same word, it feels more of an artificial insemination than the natural process of growth hinted at by Jesus. Clearly you don’t need to be found in a seminary to find yourself growing in faith.
Still, that notion of a seedbed as the location to fertilize growth has had me thinking about the expanse of sowing seeds. And like wheat that in dark earth many days has lain, I stuck this photocopied piece of paper in my Bible about four months ago, waiting for it like the risen grain to come forth and bear fruit. It’s from the amazing book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries from a Secret World. Since reading it, I’ve been waiting for this Sunday’s Bible passage to come around to share this excerpt with you, which starts out sounding like Jesus’ parable, but ends up with a very different outcome:
While not trying to argue with Jesus and his parable, but as a companion parable and extending the conversation about interconnectedness from Thursday Gifts of the Garden worship, we certainly remember that you are not just an individual seed who has fallen where you may. Nor are you carefully dug into place by God’s hands only to be left to grow on your own. Nor is this a matter of survival of the fittest or of lucky placement circumstances.
No, we have to extend Jesus’ parable with this message from the book. So I say to you: welcome to your place here amid the forest. Keep it close. Share, and grow well.