The Rocky Places

The Rocky Places

If you were present on Sunday morning 

(or had an opportunity to watch the service via YouTube), 

then you got to receive the gift of thoughtful sermon from Summer. 

The Gospel reading was the ubiquitous Parable of the Sower. 

Many times, the focus of sermons and teaching about this parable focus on being productive. 

Jesus gives some examples of seeds and what they do depending on the soil they find themselves in.

If they were dropped on the Path-

Birds ate them.

If they were dropped on the Rocky Ground-

They sprouted up quickly but then were dried up by the sun.

If they were dropped in the Thorns- 

The thorns choked them out.

If they were dropped on the Good Soil-

They produced 30, 60 and 100 fold.

Our minds, I think naturally, go to the soil that produces the most. 

The good soil.

Being productive is key.


Summer drew our attention to a deeper aspect of Jesus’ call to us.

What is the condition of our heart?

How is the soil of our souls.

Is it available for what the Sower desires to plant there?

Is it available to hear the truth about life and God’s kingdom?

Summer pointed out that we are happy to talk about the soil in our heart that is good, to live in those spaces, to tell others about it.

But what about the other places in our heart?

What about the things, like the briar patch, that overwhelm us?

What about the difficult times, like the hardened path, that have been unfruitful for us?

What about the times we have felt, like the rocky ground, outside of our element and on shaky ground?

These are important things for us to look at.

It is easy to focus on the successes in our lives 

and not deal with the problem areas.

But this only leads to an unbalanced life.

A car with new tires matters not if the transmission is shot.

A newly painted house is deceptive if the “bones” of the house are weak or rotting.

It is a dreadful thing to go after our hard to look at parts. 

Any wounds, trauma, disappointments and the like.

But look at them we should.

Through the eyes of God.

And God’s kingdom plans.

The seed the Sower casts is abundant.

To us the casting of seed onto unproductive ground seems frivolous and wasteful.

But I believe it tells us something about the Sower.

The Sower is, as Summer put it, lavish. 

Being lavish speaks of going above and beyond the adequate.

It is more than what could ever be expected.

Which, in my mind, pretty much sums up God’s love.

It is lavish.

It is not afraid of the bad soil.

It is not intimidated by our failures and shortcomings.

It seeks our wholeness and health.

The epistle reading from Sunday speaks to this, 

but I think it needs some context.

Paul is speaking about his own inability to get things right. 

When he wants to do the right thing, he fails to do so.

When he tries to refrain from things that he knows are wrong, 

it is those things he ends up doing.

He sums up his frustrations with this,

“Wretched man that I am! 

Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Romans 7:25a

Have you ever felt like throwing your hands up and saying in frustration, “Really?”

That’s how Paul felt.

But, he also shares his relief with us of the knowledge of the One who will rescue him (and us) from this frustration when he writes,

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

This is the context for the epistle reading from this week.

And provides the context for God’s lavishness.

Romans 8:1 reads like this:

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

When we fail to meet up to the standards set for us.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we fail to meet the standard we set for ourselves.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we seek things that do not promote wholeness.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we find ourselves in the dark places of trauma and hurt.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we are scared to work on that which is troubling us.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we find ourselves struggling to understand the season we are in.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

This is lavish.

God is lavish.

It does require something of us, however.

We must choose to be in Christ.

To move, however imperfectly, towards Kingdom living. 

To see old patterns as ineffective.

To realize our predictability is killing us.

To see that wholeness and health await us.

If we are willing to follow Jesus.

With all that we can muster.

Knowing that we have Help.

And a loving God looking to restore us.