Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
WHEN Jesus preached about the kingdom of God, the Romans occupied the Holy Land and were ruthless in the way they maintained law and order.
On the surface things may have seemed hopeless, but the Jewish people had hope. Hope that the promised Messiah was at hand.
Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
The power that Jesus brought with his announcement of the arrival of the kingdom of heaven however did not have the perception of power that many people expected. Jesus could indeed perform powerful miracles, but they were short-lived and selective. The complete regeneration of the world that many associated with the messianic age of blessing appeared to have not arrived.
So Jesus clarifies with his parables. The kingdom of God is hidden from the wise of the world but is powerful in its spiritual transformation of individuals who dare to come to it with eyes of faith and an open heart.
The parable of the Sower illustrates that although the Gospel of the kingdom of heaven will be preached and taught indiscriminately in the world, there are varied responses to it. The life-giving force is in the seed, so how the soil responds to the seed indicates the impact of the life of the kingdom has in a person’s heart.
Since the primary focus of this parable is on the soils and not the sower, let us take a closer look at them.
If we look at the different soils mentioned in the parable there is a clear, unmistakable distinction made between those who are outright hardened against the gospel message, the soil on the path, and those who produce fruit in the good soil.
But there is a perplexing middle ground in those who initially receive the word but then fall away. Some hear the word and fall away because of trials and hardships in life, and others get sucked into the priorities of the world over kingdom values.
This is a warning to all of us who respond to the kingdom to guard against, and to be prepared for those temptations and distractions that could prevent us from producing fruit. Ultimately, it is the ongoing production of fruit that differentiates between those who have truly responded to the gospel and those who have not.
And it is the promise of fruitfulness that gives us hope,Hope of personal, spiritual transformation that will have repercussions throughout the wider world. It will be a transformation from the former worldly, self-centred practices into personal characteristics that reflect the work of the Spirit, transforming into the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in their lives through righteousness and good works.
Our responsibility is to care for our well-being by supplying the soil of our hearts with the proper nutrients, fertilised by the sacraments,constantly watered by the word of God protected by the community of faith.
This way we can ensure that the weeds of this world will not choke us leaving us free to cast the seed of the gospel in our community,the fruit of which will be a hundred, sixty, thirty times that which was sown.
The Lord be with you.
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.