Hi all! I am back at it again.. This week was the parable of the sower. If you are anything like me you have heard this story often and sometimes I think the fact we are given an explanation of this text means that we can easily sit back and categorise ourselves, ticking the boxes and feeling like we are done for the week.
It has proven to be a great discipline again to draw the text.. So what did I notice this week? I started with reflecting on the rocks.. I was thinking about how hard rocky soil is. My front garden is quite a rocky bed, it was designed to keep the weeds out but has meant that it is really hard to establish any new plants in it. I almost have to get a pick ax to it smashing away to get to the good soil underneath. This got me to thinking about my life. Where is it in my life that is an absolute no go zone for God. What practices and habits do I have, assumptions that I am so tightly wedded to that no see however strong it is can penetrate, and even if it did it would last long. As I ponder this question, I am moved to ask do I want that rocky soil cracked open anyway or am I happy with it providing the barrier to areas I am not willing to face.
When reflecting on the seeds on the path, I was reminded of an article I read about original sin. Now I am not a big fan of babies being born in sin, they are not even aware to make choices. The author (sorry I don’t remember who you are) suggested that we are all born into sin, we are born into a specific culture and world view, all of these are human constraints and none of them are perfect. Now before you say hang on Karen we are a Christian household and live perfectly according to the Christian understanding of the world and it is from God. If this had no taint from humanity we would all be in total agreement about how to do this and there would be no need for denominations. But that is not the reality. All of us are part of a culture that teaches us the world is a certain way and none of them bring life in abundance fully to everyone. There are some parts of us that we don’t even notice when the seeds are bouncing to the side and being eaten by birds. I think it s great to hear from other cultures about faith because they can show us those areas we cannot see.
So then we get to the weeds.. In a ponderous state as I was, I began thinking about the things that threaten my ability to let the seeds of God grow to full fruition in my life. What are the weeds that steal the things I need to really make my faith blossom. I am amazed how often following this trail I get to a place of fear. What will people think? What if I pray and people aren’t healed? What if I say something about faith and it threatens my friendship. I can’t afford to be generous as I need to be able to support myself and my family. It would be nice if faith was simple, if I just do this and it will all be good. But it is complex, the reason the weeds are there and they stay is because sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the weeds and the plants. Fear has power because sometimes it is true, sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard we pray people still die, sometimes if we are generous with our last penny we can have to go with out. But sometimes people are healed and sometimes when you think you are not going to make it something unexpected and generous comes back to us.
Which brought me to the reflection on the good soil. It was interesting as I drew this image, the flower with the seeds actually overcame the weeds. They were still there, looming but the joy of being whole and present actually shows the true place of those fears which can stop us. When we have what we need and we stretch our roots deep and our leaves high towards the sun we can blossom. Note I said need here, not want. I have found myself recently being grateful, grateful in the morning on waking, grateful as I go to sleep. It took a while for this habit to kick in, at first it was hard to silence the weeds and notice the good, but it has worked, now it is no longer a discipline but a beautiful habit of naming the things that have impacted my day.
You may have noticed the footprints across the bottom of the drawing this week. It was a reminder that no matter where in the field the seeds of God have landed the footprint of God is present. May you notice the footprint of God with you this week.