Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9
Key verses: (3-9) 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!”
Reflection: In our Weekday School Faith Development classes we use a method of Bible storytelling called Godly Play. We invite the children to hear and explore Bible stories using beautiful hand-made materials, and to wonder about the stories. The parables are told in a particularly wonderful way. The pieces used to tell each parable are held in a gold box. The storyteller invites the children to think about how parables are like the gold box. The box looks valuable, and parables are valuable. The box looks old, and parables are old. The box looks a little like a present, and parables are a gift to us from God. You have to “open” a parable to see what’s inside, and you can come back again and again, and notice something different each time. The parables help us answer the question: What is the Kingdom of God like?
Jesus gave us the gift of the Parable of the Sower. The sower sows seeds on four kinds of soil. The seeds on the path got eaten by birds. Seeds sown among stones could not get their roots far enough in the ground to survive the sun’s rays, and they died. Seeds sown among thorns got choked, and died. But seeds sown in the good earth put down roots, and grew and grew. And the harvest was plentiful.
It’s a story. There was not an actual sower Jesus pointed to, who did all the things he described in front of people. The seeds and the soil stand for something else. But this old, old story is true, and valuable, and a gift. There is deep wisdom and lasting truth in it. It helps us as we try to live as kingdom people. Each time we come to this, or any other story Jesus told, we may see or hear something new in it. I wonder, as a Godly Play storyteller might ask the children: where are you in this story?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of your parables. Help me come to them with wonder and openness as children come to a story. Help me listen and hear what you have to say to me. Help us all live as kingdom people. Prepare the soil of my own heart and life, so that I might be part of an abundant harvest for you. Through Christ the Lord, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].