Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 † Psalm 93 † Revelation 1:4b-8 † John 18:33-37
Last week, we met Jesus in Mark, looking with his disciples at the great temple of Solomon. “Do you see these stones?” he asked. Not one will be left on another. He was warning them not to trust in what seems to be powerful, but instead to see and to heed the signs that speak to what is true, what is really going on, to a clear-eyed assessment that refuses to turn away from what we would rather not notice, whether hidden behind great walls or institutional privilege or fake news.
As a way of trying to illustrate this, with some fear and trembling, I showed you some pictures from the news that might serve as signs of this very thing, of a reality that should and has snapped us to attention as a society, that should impress on us the significance of the challenges we are facing so that we can more clearly look for the hope that is ours when, like a thing with feathers, it alights in our midst.
There was a strong and mixed response to these images last Sunday and early in the week. To all of you who engaged in one way or another, I am grateful. To those of you who were troubled, let me first of all offer my apology to you. This thing we do from Sunday to Sunday is a strange and wild beast, and the power and authority that you give to those of us who speak to what is essentially a captive audience—especially one of all ages and experiences—is a fearsome thing.
Readings for this Sunday:
1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 | Psalm 20 | 2 Corinthians 5:6-17| Mark 4:26-34
The seed in Mark’s gospel is the word of God, the revelation, the action of God amongst us. Jesus gives us this definition in the parable that is told right before the one we read today. Today’s parables (or folklore was a description of parables that I heard this week: common tales, tales of the people that help us understand, bring down to earth, things mysterious and important). Well, today’s parables are part of a series that Jesus tells about seeds; seeds and the way they are sown and what they do and how they can help us understand a little more fully and a trust a little more deeply the nature of God’s word amongst us and within us.
So in the previous parable, the one right before those we read today the seed is sown and it is sown on all sorts of ground – fertile ground, hardened ground, weedy ground, rocky ground – and as we might imagine, or if you have gardened you will know - that under such a method only some will thrive. The seed needs the right conditions to grow. But the aspect of this tale that strikes me as especially important and that I think gives greater dimension to the parables we read today is that this seed, this word of God, is thrown everywhere. It’s not just here in this book – the use of that word takes us there, but the word or the action, the revelation, the presence of God is everywhere. The Sower of the seed, the one who plants the word of God—God’s own self - does not discriminate in terms of where God’s word will be planted. This word from God, it is planted everywhere – everywhere. All over the place. Everywhere. Absolutely no place is out of bounds.
And then there are today’s tales –
St. Andrew Sermons