This painiting, the Sower by Vincent Van Gogh links to our parable for this Sunday, the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13).
In the parable, Jesus tells of a farmer who is overly generous with his seed. He throws out the seed on rocky soil, walking paths and ground that looks good, but has no depth of soil. He also casts the seed on good soil, as well, and the harvest is amazing—100-, 60-, 30-fold.
Vincent Van Gogh lived a life of the sower. He was drawn to religion. He had relatives who were protestant pastors and theologians. He was not able to pass the exam to become a pastor and instead took up a missionary post in the coal-mining district of Borinage, Belgium. To show support for his improverished congregation, he gave up his lodging to a homeless person and moved to a small hut where he slept on straw. Church authoriities thought his squalid living conditions “undermined the dignity of the priesthood”, so he was dismissed.
He was troubled throughout his life. His younger brother, Theo, was a lifeline for him, supporting him financially and emotionally. He tred to make Vincent and his paintings famous. however, he was able to sell only one of his paintings during his entire lifetime of all his 2,100 paintings. Theo’s wife became uneasy with Theo always supporting Vincent and they separated. Theo died six months after Vincent. But, after Vincent and Theo’s death, it was Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Theo’s wife, and his son, Vincent Willem van Gogh, who lifted up Vincent’s legacy. His paintings now sell for millions, among the most expensive in the world. Vincent kept throwing out the seeds of his passion for art, but there was no appreciation for his harvest until after his death.
Likewise, Jesus kept throwing out the seed of God’s gracious Word. He kept tossing no matter the response. Chapter 12 of Matthew tells us that many saw Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah and took his words to heart. Others thought Jesus was the Devil himself. It was not until after his death and resurrection that the seeds cast out by his disciples began to bear fruit.
To those of us who value the Words of Jesus, it is a wonderful blessing. A blessing to be shared. We do not always know what the reaction will be to the seeds that we sow, but we share our passion for the what the Word has meant for us. Jesus keeps casting the seeds into our lives.
I have been with you about a year now. Together, we have been casting out the Word of God. We are on a wonderful roll. We have missed in-person worship. But, together as a loving congregation, we know that the church is not just a building. We are back with in-person worship and communion, but we are worshipping now in ways that I would not have imagined a year ago. Many of you cannot or should not be in worship, so we record them on YouTube for viewing on line. We are still working on the production quality, but none-the-less we are still united as Faith!
Thanks again for the continued support of the church. We are moving forward with physical improvements to the church, so we can be up and running when the threat of COVID-19 infections are reduced.
Together, we continue to cast out the seeds of the Word of God in whatever ways we can! — including keeping the pantry running, the sermons coming, the music flowing, sharing of the bread and wine and compassion to one another and being kind to those in our community. There is a treasure here and a harvest to be anticipated.
Reaping the harvest with blessings,
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, live according to it, and grow in faith and hope and love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
We will continue in-person worship July 12 at 10 am
Please join us, if it is prudent for you to come. We follow protocol with masks, social distancing and sanitizing. We will continue to email and post the service on YouTube following the service.
We also now have Christ in our Home available in the narthex for the months of July, August and September. If you would like a copy, stop by or we could mail it to you. Just let us know.
We are getting ready for the day when we will be fully open again. We have some final touches in the church to do. The small copy room is next to be painted. If you can help, please email me. Thanks to Vicki who started the painting of the hallway by the Men’s Restroom and Laundry and to Connie who completed the baseboards in the office and completing the doors.
We will start to enhance the south section of the south parking lot once our gardener has installed the dripline. We used Myrene Bunge’s Action Team to purchase weed block and other items. Carol Jensen has received her $250 for use to purchase rock covering. Debi Hitter has applied for one as well. Thank you all!
Looking forward to seeing some of you again on Sunday.