This will be the back page for the 30 July 2017 (8th Sunday after Pentecost, year A) bulletin of Fishkill United Methodist Church.
I suppose it is because of the work Ann and I did with a church garden a few years ago but I see the parable of the sower more in terms of the ground on which the seeds fell than on the seeds that landed on the ground.
Only the seeds that feel on the good soil grew. But what do we do about the rocky ground and the ground with the weeds. Do we just forget about those seeds and focus only on the good seeds?
In the sense of the work of the church, do we focus on the ones that grow under the optimal conditions (which probably don’t exist anyway) or do we go out and improve the soil by removing the weeds and clearing out the stones.
One of the things the John Wesley understood was that people would not be receptive to the Gospel message if they were sick, hungry, or struggling with their finances. The first schools, first health clinics, and the first credit union were efforts by Wesley and the Methodists to remove that which took away the ability to hear the Gospel message.
That challenge still exists today. What is the church, or perhaps what are the people of the church doing to make the ground fertile so that people will be able to hear and live the Gospel?