October 29, 2023
The Gospel reading today of the Sower transports me to so many times in my life as I think about days on the farm, my offspring, or my walk with the Lord just to name a few. But the one memory that comes more boldly darting across my frontal lobe is the story of Green-Side-Up. It is a story I have told many times and calls to question the actions of some workers that were installing sod at a new home. The boss had to repeatedly remind them to lay the sod with the green side up, or respectively the earthy brown earth side down!
Several months ago, I witnessed some new sod being installed here at our church and I must say that I am very thankful to the farmers and landscapers for this development. The crew installed it correctly, green side up! It added immediate beauty and stability to our landscape! Our excavator also applied hydro grass seed to all the other areas, of course it has been a dry summer though. You can certainly see the difference as the sod is deep green and most of the seeded area is a bit browner, weedy and scarce. Well, after all we are sitting on a rock here at Holy Myrrhbearers. Glory to God!!
I also have been casting seed as I try to fill in some of the barren areas in our green space. I usually take a little straw and scatter on the seed and then water it as often as I can. The farm where our sod was grown had fertile soil, correct fertilizing, and the proper amount of weekly watering and sunshine. These grounds at the church do not have the richest soil but I’ll keep at it and see how green the spring season looks!
The parable of the sower is also the story of a patient Lover of Mankind. God will continue to cast His seeds, even on the worst soil and rock. I was speaking with a landscaper this week about trees and how the South side of our church is a sheet of shale and limestone and it seems to me to be a very hard place to expect a tree to survive. He reminded me of the trees that take root amongst the rock cliffs in the mountains, anything is possible!
The Great Sower cast His seeds upon us and it is our choice to nurture the seed or let the sun and birds devour it. If we chose to care for this precious seed, it takes time and discipline. It takes us enlightening it with reading the Scriptures and the lives of the Saints. It takes our participation in loving our neighbor and plucking the formidable weeds that will try to choke this seed to death. It takes wanting to become a good and faithful farmer, a nurturer of our soil. It is Christ knocking at the heart of each person, calling us to look vigilantly into our soul, to understand ourselves, and to allow His fruit to blossom, and be deeply rooted in His teachings.
Blessed Theophylact echoes the gospel: “The seed is the word of God. Those along the way are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation, fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares of riches and of pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patient endurance. (Luke 8:11-15) It is not wealth that harms, but the cares and worries about wealth which the fill the mind…those whose fruit never ripen bear no fruit at all. “(The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, pg 84-85)
I pray that you and I will keep our soil fertile, tilled and moist so that His word may produce a bountiful harvest in us and those around us because you just can’t help sharing something this rich and true with those along our rocky path. And most of all, keep your green side up!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-29-2023
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