Hallwood Ecumenical Parish
Bethesda, Palace Fields & St.Mark’s, Beechwood
Church of England – Methodist – United Reformed Church
12 July 2020
Once there was a man who went out to sow corn (Matt 13:3)
These are the opening words of a very familiar parable – Good News version. This year, a lot more people than usual have been sowing seeds, though not necessarily corn, and have been finding, I expect, that the results of such sowing can vary a good deal. Some seeds sprout immediately and get off to a good start, then wither and die for no apparent reason. Some just don’t seem to get going at all, possibly because they’ve been eaten by birds, or mice. Some do get going and grow quite well, but then get surrounded by rather more vigorous weeds which crowd them out and choke them, so they produce very little by way of crop or flowers. And some, in the right conditions, grow and flourish to gladden the hearts of those who planted them.
We sometimes describe our efforts to spread the gospel in terms of seed-sowing. A conversation about church, what we believe, or why we act as we do may be thought of as an opportunity to interest a friend, family member, or acquaintance at the bus stop in God or our faith. The same may be true of actions. We may hope to see signs of that awakening interest, but nothing seems to come of it. But seeds are like that. You can plant them in slightly wrong conditions, or when it’s still too cold, and it looks as though you’ve lost them
Sometimes, of course, you have – they have, as it were, been eaten before they’ve had a chance to grow. But on other occasions, if you wait a while, the germination you had given up all hope of slowly begins to show signs of appearing. This may come as a total surprise, or may be the reward for patient continued care and concern. Tending your young plants brings them nearer to flourishing independent life, bringing you much blessing, as well as their total environment.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my garden recently, as you may be able to tell, and have experienced all this. The trick is to continue planting and tending because you never quite know when you’ll see the results you want. And even if, to most people, you haven’t seemed to succeed, what has grown will nourish the compost heap. You’ll have to work out the relevance of that for yourself!