It is time for a story with our mentor, Jesus. As he begins, we may recall this parable, the story of the gardener who scatters the seed of God’s loving word. We get comfortable in our seats as Jesus shares…

I began to teach the people many things in parables, and in my teaching, I 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 then I said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Mark 4:2-9, NRSV, revised*)

As you reflect on this story, are there any words that especially resonate with your soul? What type of soil would you be at this moment? Today, are you the worn path, feeling trampled and dry? Or are you the rocky ground, needing some tilling and aerating? Are you the thorny area that could use weeding or fertilizing? Or are you feeling spiritually ready to receive the word and yield more of its goodness and fruitfulness? What do you envision Jesus saying to you about the condition of your soil?


A little further into this chapter of Mark, Jesus explains the meaning of his parable. We learn that the seeds of God’s word are sown everywhere; but unless they land on the good soil, the seeds will be quickly taken, the new seedlings won’t last, or the growing plants will eventually be choked out. Today I find good news in that God’s word has been freely shared with us, despite our soil condition. God doesn’t wait until we are ready (would we ever be fully ready?) but chooses to meet us where we are, how we are, why we are.

Today, we can welcome and accept the seed – this active, living, loving word of God – despite the condition of our soil. We can then cling to the seed, seek the sunlight of understanding, welcome the rain of cleansing, accept the plow of humbling and perfecting, and absorb the nutrients of nurturing and replenishing. The seed comes to us as we are, but we can help it grow within us.

Gardening will take patience, perseverance, attention, labor, and time. But the Gardener is with us. The Gardener will provide everything we need to sprout, grow, blossom and flourish, and eventually bring forth good and abundant fruit.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Bible verses found at

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.



  2. An exaggeration, but not TOO far a stretch.

    I think that I now have found
    the soil that works for me.
    I place my seed on beery ground,
    and wait expectantly
    for God’s truth to reach my ears,
    and then I laugh with joy,
    pour myself a few more beers
    that help me to employ
    all the heart-cells that I’ve got
    (the brain cells are long-fried)
    to never, ever lose the plot,
    the fact that Jesus died
    for the princes and the punks,
    and even for us boozy drunks.


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