Speaker: Sandy Souder, April 3, 2016
Good Morning Beloved!
At the end of his sermon each week, Father Richards offers an altar call, inviting anyone who needs prayer to come forward. Last week, Father Richards gave the invitation and was surprised to see Lee Johnson, a local roustabout, coming forward.
“Brother Lee, what do you need prayer for today?” Father Richards inquired.
“My hearing,” Lee answered quietly.
Father Richards put his hands on each side of Lee’s head and prayed a prayer so beautiful that surely the Angels in Heaven must have been crying. It was a prayer so profound there were only a few dry eyes among the congregation. When he finished, Father Richards removed his hands from Lee’s ears and bellowed, “So Brother Lee, tell the congregation how your hearing is now!”
Lee answered, “I don’t know, Father. It’s not until next Tuesday.”
The Parable of the Sower of Seeds
Parables are a well-known method of teaching used by Jesus. According to Elizabeth Sand Turner in “Your Hope of Glory”, a Parable is a short, fictitious narrative based on a familiar experience and having an application to spiritual life. And John Dominic Crossan calls Parables ‘fictional stories for moral or theological purposes.”
Personally, I enjoyed the ‘moral of the story’ with a bit of humor from Rocky & Bullwinkle! But I digress…
There are nine Parables referring to the mysteries of the Kingdom of God or Heaven, depending on which gospel you are referring to. Both terms refer to the spiritual plane of our being. To realize the kingdom within is the highest ideal we can set for ourselves.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Jesus didn’t see himself as the exception, but as an example. He said, “What I have done you can do also.”
The Gospels were originally written in Greek, in which the word kingdom means realm. The word heaven means a process of rising up to higher levels of happiness and empowerment. So the Kingdom of Heaven translates as a higher realm of awareness within us, characterized by greater degrees of happiness and empowerment.
The 30 Parables of the New Testament are put forth in a particular sequence so they become like stepping-stones on a secret pathway that leads to a deeper state of well-being and personal evolution.
Shortly after embarking on his ministry; after teaching the first three Parables, Jesus realized something was wrong. The people weren’t catching on; they weren’t getting it.
So the fourth Parable was his response to the problem. It is the Parable of the Sower, and is often called the key that unlocks the deeper level of meaning in all the other Parables.
Read the Parable
There are several ways to interpret this Parable, here’s one…
We are like the farmer. Instead of creating a field full of crops, we are creating our lives. The seeds represent our potential. We have the potential to become more, to live better, to be happier, to love more. And just as the seeds need to be planted in good soil, nurtured and tended to in order to grow, our potential is totally dependent on the thoughts we think. Positive thoughts nurture our potential, and we get positive results.
So here lies the problem in the Parable of the Sower. Some seeds fall on the roadside and the birds take them away. Some seeds fall on a rock and they can’t take root. And some seeds land in the weeds and the sprouts get smothered out. Seventy-five percent of the farmer’s efforts are wasted because he is not paying attention, he is not focused, he is not truly committed to what he is doing.
And so it is with us at times. We hear the good news about the potential we have to change our lives in many positive ways, but we don’t really set our intention, our unwavering intention to commit to that process, so what we hear is like the seeds carried off by the birds.
Or we allow the negative attitudes of the past to continue and dominate, so new thoughts can’t take root, like the seeds that landed on the rock.
Or we let the attitudes of others smother out the new thoughts and they can’t grow, like the seeds that landed in the weeds…
Does this resonate?
Here’s another interpretation:
The sower is the indwelling Christ who is always speaking the word of truth to us (sowing the seeds).
There are four types of hearers:
- The hearer hears the word but is so lacking in spiritual understanding that sense consciousness quickly obliterates it…the seeds ‘fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.’
- The hearer hears the word, receives it gladly and remembers it for a time. However, this person has only a superficial knowledge of Truth and when trials come thrusts the word aside. This hearer’s mind is like the ‘rocky ground, where they had not much soil’. The sprouting seed, not having enough roots, is scorched by the sun’s rays.
- This third person’s mind is like thorny ground, they are obsessed with a sense of burden (cares of the world) and absorbed in the pursuit of wealth (they delight in riches.) These are the thorns that choke the seed and keep it from growing.
- The fourth hearer, as a result of study of spiritual things and love for God, has a receptive mind. This represents the ‘good soil’ that produces an abundant harvest.
The Parable of the Sower tells us three things.
First, if we truly want our lives to change for the better, if we want to express a greater degree of our potential, we have to commit 100 percent of our time, energy and focus.
Second, we have to become aware when old, negative, defeating ways of thinking surface and do what psychologists call a pattern interrupt. We interrupt the pattern of negative thinking by putting our attention back on our intention. Denials and Affirmations help here.
And third, we need to spend our time in a positive environment with positive people, doing positive things.
Sound like Unity of Rehoboth Beach!
To some this might seem like a lot of work. You might even wonder if it is worth the effort. But in truth, it is much, much harder to live in an unsatisfactory way, with a low sense of well-being or an unsettling notion that there is more to life than what we are experiencing.
Each of us has the power to choose the kind of consciousness that we will have and the outcome of our hearing the word will either be indifferent or beneficial according to the way in which we receive it. The seed falls into our mind and responds to our consciousness.
Nothing brings intensity, satisfaction, meaning, pleasure, passion, and fulfillment like your life becoming more than it has ever been.
What is YOUR interpretation of this Parable?