Mark 4: 1-9 (NRSVA)
1 Again he began to teach beside the lake. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land. 2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ 9 And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’
Our God is a God of gifts and today we start a new theme ‘The Gift That Keeps On Giving’ that uses a story Jesus told known as ‘The Parable of the Sower’ to explore these gifts. We will be thinking both about ‘spiritual gifts’ and, at harvest time, the gift of creation itself.
Sometimes we put God in a box and say that the Creator is only responsible for the extraordinary or the ‘supernatural’ and that nature can keep going on its own, just ticking over, a system with no need of a caretaker: ‘God gets on with spiritual stuff and leaves the rest to us.’ But this is not the God of the prophets, or the Psalms, or the Gospels. God is intimately tied up with creation from what we consider ‘everyday' to what we call ‘extraordinary’. God is continually giving us gifts. What we think of as spiritual gifts are an integral part of the radical giftedness of reality.
So this month we are going to be thinking a lot about food, harvesting, ecology, discernment, and the gift of God’s grace. Over the next few weeks we will return to this Parable of the Sower — looking at it from different angles and testing how we can ‘Guard the good’ of the gift that keeps on giving.
show us how to tend to your gifts
the miraculously mundane,
and all the mundane miracles that sustain us all.