Spilling God’s Seeds

On July 16, 2017, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Let there be peace among us and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Spilling God’s Seeds Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins The reading from Isaiah today tells us that God’s word of hope and encouragement must produce […]

Let there be peace among us and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Spilling God’s Seeds
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

The reading from Isaiah today tells us that God’s word of hope and encouragement must produce something good. That reading has uplifted people for millennia – during times of exile, war, famine, oppression, and hardship, people have heard the prophet’s words declaring that God’s love and goodwill flow like rain, fall like snow, and will achieve something good in due season.

God’s word, God’s will, God’s wish is for us to go out with joy and return with peace, and for our lives to be filled with happiness and fulfillment, singing and rejoicing.

And if there are thorns in life, what’s to sing about? That the thorns will be replaced by beautiful trees and bushes and God’s goodness will never end. Thorns happen, but they aren’t the whole story. Things will get better, and trusting that, we can go ahead and rejoice right now!

Even when things are not going well, we can remind ourselves and one another that God is cheering for us!

God wants YOU to be happy.
God wants YOU to love who you are.
God wants YOU to see and seize wonderful possibilities.
God wants YOU to trust that nothing can separate you from the love that God is.

That’s God’s encouraging word and in the fullness of time it must achieve something good. Something good is on the way for you! If you’re ready to receive it say AMEN.

But wait! What about those who say God tests us, punishes us, only accepts some of us, those of us who hold certain opinions or belong to certain groups or who love or pray in prescribed ways? How does this good God of infinite goodness square with that harsh, finger wagging, wrist slapping, limited occupancy God? Well, to be sure, they are too very different visions, understandings, and experiences of God. And some of us have been conditioned to believe that the God of unconditional love, joy, abundance, hope, and peace is just too good to be true. We seem to want God to draw a line somewhere. We want grace to be free but we also want to insist that we have to do something to get it, which would keep it from really being free.

Do we really believe in GOOD News? Are we willing to believe that God is love?

God the punisher may appeal to some, but I can’t be bothered with the concept. God is good or God couldn’t be my god.

If goodness, kindness, and love scare you, may I suggest that you have some inner work to do. Start right now telling yourself that you deserve Good in your life.

“There is good for me and I ought to have it.”

“God is love and WHOEVER lives in love lives in God and God lives in them.”

“NOTHING can separate me from the love of God.”

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better.”

“There’s not a spot where God is not.”

“Wherever I am, God is, and all is well.”

“I am God’s miracle and not God’s mistake.”

“The past is past and the future has infinite possibilities.”

“All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

You see, faith comes by hearing, and the one sure way to hear something good is to say it.

Faith is trust…Trust God’s goodness and unconditional love. Build that trust by saying uplifting things all the time. Faith comes by hearing.

Jesus told a story about a Gardner who went out to sow some seeds. She tossed seeds everywhere, not taking aim at just some areas but just slinging them every place.
Some seeds feel on a foot path and were eaten by birds, some seeds fell on hard ground and never really took root, some seeds fell among thorns when they sprouted the thorns choked them out, and some seeds fell on rich, fertile soil and produced a huge crop.

He didn’t often explain his parables, but he explained this one. He said:
1. The seeds that the birds eat right away represent those of us who hear the good news but don’t quite get it. It’s like it’s just gobbled up and we don’t benefit from it.
2. The seeds that fall on hard ground represent people who like the message but they don’t hold onto to it for long. They don’t put down roots in spiritual practice and spiritual community. They like it at xmas and Easter or whenever they happen to expose themselves to a positive message, but they don’t make it part of their daily lives and practice, and so it doesn’t really stick with them and isn’t there for them in their times of great need.
3. The seeds that fall in the thorn bushes represent people to hear the word of hope and encouragement and may even like it, but they focus more on their fears, their regrets, on what’s not yet perfect or on what could go wrong…their attention is on the thorns of life, and where attention goes, energy flows. And so the fears that they feed stay strong and choke out the message of hope.
4. But the seeds that fall on rich, fertile ground…that represents the progressive, positive, practical community of faith. They hear the word of hope. They love it. They live it. They share it. They support it with time, talent, and treasure. They pray it. They study. They worship. They praise. And the word grows within them, exponentially, to lift them up whenever they need it.

God is spreading seed everywhere. God is lavish, wasteful with the word of hope. God is tossing it everywhere it might land. On hard ground, hard heads, hard hearts where it may not penetrate too deeply, on busy lives where it may get brushed aside, on brier patches, on thorny people and prickly attitudes, on people we might consider to be mean or bitter or selfish or afraid or cruel or miserable, and God is tossing the word of hope on those who receive it, nurture it, celebrate it, practice it, allowing it to flourish in their lives. God is tossing the seed everywhere, spilling the seed of grace on every single human soul. On shallow spiritualities and hard hearts and thorny attitudes, as well as on the eager and devoted…God is tossing the seed everywhere. You may not be ready for it yet, but God never stops offering it.

The seed is love. The seed is hope. The seed is peace. The seed is empowerment. The seed is fulfillment. The seed is compassion. And God is spilling it everywhere, in abundance, all the time.

That’s because, as Isaiah says, God wants all people to have hope and peace and joy…that’s God’s word and God’s wish and God’s will, and it will not return to God void but will eventually take root in every soul, in this life experience or another.

Thorns will be plowed under and replaced with beautiful trees and bushes, hard ground will be tilled, all ground, all souls, will be receptive to the good news that God’s love will never exclude anyone for any reason and that is reason to rejoice.

Whether the poetry of Isaiah the parable of Jesus, the message is the same…God wants us to be happy, and God will never give up until God’s wish is fulfilled. And since God will never give up on us, we need never give up on ourselves. And this is the good news. Amen.

(c) Durrell Watkins 2017

Thank you, God, for your all-inclusive love.
You will never give up on me.
So I will never give up on myself.

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