Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

Mark 4:1-9

Again, Jesus began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching, he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 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. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, believed that all the characters in our dreams are not representations of other people, they are actually different versions of ourselves. We are the characters of our dreams and each character can only teach us about ourselves. Similarly, I want to suggest that one way to think about the parable for this morning is to consider each type of soil mentioned in our reading as corresponding to the state of our souls at one point or another along our spiritual journeys. After all, God’s good seed is not just sown once in our lives and received once. God spreads the grace of God’s love over us all the time and each time we receive it differently. The question is – right now at this moment in your life, what kind of ground does God find in your soul? If you can honestly answer that question then you can know something about the state of our own spiritual health, and when you know that then you can begin to do something about it.

Ask yourself – where do I fit into this parable? What is the ground of my soul like and does that need to change? If you are closed up tight then ask God to open your heart. If your life feels shallow, your connection to God tentative, then ask our Lord to give you the strength to deepen your relationships, your commitments, and your self-awareness. If you feel the world choking you to death, then ask God to give you the courage to rip up and throw away whatever it is that is keeping you from growing into the person God wants you to be.

Finally, always remember that Jesus makes it clear in this parable that the sower is quite extravagant. He doesn’t cast seed sparingly, planting only in the finest soil. No, God casts his love widely, flinging it with abandon on all of us no matter where we are at any particular moment in our lives. God won’t give up on us, the seeds keep coming. Let’s not give up on ourselves. Amen.


Let us pray,

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.