So, the parable is about the sower who goes out and scatters the seed everywhere; some seed falls on the path, on rocky soil, in the weeds, and some falls in good soil and grows and flourishes. Producing 100 fold, some sixty, some thirty.
Mostly I have heard this story and wondered what kind of soil am I --?
But yesterday, Monday, Joel and I went out for coffee and a sandwich. We met and talked with a very interesting young man; he was dressed in strange balloon type knickers, zorries (flip-flops), a t-shirt with the collar-edge removed, and a hat which was stuffed full of what was, hopefully, hair. He was an artist, he said, who was now working out of a garage in the neighborhood. But before he worked anywhere, he had to live in the place for a while, pick up on its wind, watch the sun and shadows and how they moved in this place. And most importantly, he had to talk with the rocks, to find out what kind of place it really was. Rocks were living things which spoke of the place.
These are James River Rocks, at the Falls, not far from downtown Richmond.
As he was talking, my mind was leaping from point to counterpoint. Yes, no, yes, yes. He said, that after he got to know the rocks, he would get to work on his art. Right now, he was working in clay, trying to imitate the rocks, but leave his sculpture hollow so that the local life could come reside in his creation. He was trying to make hollow rock sculptures in which life could dwell.
What was entering my mind was the Christian story --I was saying, yes, yes, life in rocks--eternal life from the womb of hollowed out rock. But I said nothing of my thoughts. But, again, I understood, strangely, what he was saying. Resonating image art.
Then this morning, I am so filled with self-doubt. I have been so trained to listen. I didn't want to be seen as a Christian, preaching, trying to convert someone in a coffee house.
But in light of this Gospel, the good news is that a sower went out and threw seed everywhere, withheld nothing, in every nook and cranny, pathway, among the rocks, on the garage roof, in the driveway... the good news is not what kind of soil we are....
The good news is that the seed is cast indiscriminantly, abundantly. Everywhere. And indeed, I have seen mighty things grow where one would think nothing could take root.
I am tempted to go back for another cuppa, and see if my hollowed-rock friend wants to know where his story took me....and thank him for his gift of conversion--of me. You can see his work: http://www.davidbrucestudios.com/
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.