Who said that everything that appears in this blog must be my original writing? It’s MY blog, so I can share whatever I want, right? So, this week, I want to send out a reading that struck me as particularly meaningful when I ran across it in last week the devotional guide, “The Upper Room Disciplines” (Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2020).
Rev. W. Paul Jones, who was ordained a United Methodist, but converted to Roman Catholicism, wrote the devotional thoughts for the week of July 6-12. Last Friday, July 10, he wrote his thoughts on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. He said:
I find it meaningful to rename some of Jesus’ parables from the perspective of the giver rather than the recipient. It helps me to focus on the grace in each parable rather than [the] works. Thus a parable is not so much about a “Prodigal Son” as about God as a “Yearning Father.” Another is not so much the “Lost Sheep” as the “Passionate Shepherd.” And not the “Lost Coin” but God as the “Searching Widow.” Even the “Good Samaritan,” already named after the giver of grace, gains added poignancy as “The Rejected Foreigner Who Cares.”
So let us consider today’s parable [from Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23] as that of “The Extravagant Sower.” The issue involved erupted for me with the new translation of the Catholic Sacramentary. At the key point in the Eucharist, the new translation reads, “This is the chalice of my blood, which will be poured out for you and for many.” I yearned for the former words — that Christ’s sacrificial act was “for all.” In one sense, both translations are right, but which is primal — the offer or the reception, the God who says “yes” or those of us who insist on saying “no”?
Thus the focus of today’s parable could be on those who are good soil, but it is far more powerful to focus on God as so hopefully in love with all of us that God extravagantly throws seed everywhere — behind the nightclub dumpsters, in the smelly landfills, on the plastic-strewn seashores — wherever there might be someone passing by. Our hope is in such a God who refuses to be limited to sowing where the investment possibilities are most promising.
[Jones then wraps up his thoughts with a more contemporary connection, ending with a prayer]:
On this day [July 10] in 1962, the “miracle” of worldwide television transmission occurred.
Lord, we are now gifted with the power to sow truth everywhere, yet we contaminate the truth with mindless trivia. Forgive us when we seek society’s noisiness instead of the quiet of your incessant presence. Amen.