The Drought

Jul 16 2017


                                                 The Drought

We have recently had a lot of rain. Some cornfields are still under water from the drenching they received. Some houses will never rise again from the floods that hit. Since the economy is starting to rebound, employers are looking for workers, but there are not enough trained workers to fill the jobs that are available. This all sounds more like drought than rain.

Jesus spoke often in parables. Now - a modern version. 

This is a story of Jesus. A sower went out to sow…

            The path reads: And the first seed fell on me. And I am a path, I am easily walked over; people do that all the time. I have no identity of my own. And should anything fall on me, others will pick it up, like birds scrambling for crumbs, and I am left bare and fruitless. I am the one people walk over.

I guess we can all feel that way sometimes. We have ideas to share, and no one listens. Or more, they may hear us, but completely ignore what we have to say. Sometime's it's like that with God and God's words for us. We hear them. In fact, we may hear a wide variety of ideas, but we hear ideas all the time. So our faith is like the path. The ideas are there, God's presence is there, but we hear so much stuff all the time that we ignore most of it. The ideas sowed by the Holy Spirit are trampled on the paths of our souls becasue we ignore their possibilities while the world continues to bombard us with "better ideas." Sure, we might scramble to pick up a few crumbs, but in the long run, we just don't have time for new ideas, especially about our faith.

This is a story of Jesus. A sower went out to sow… The Rock Garden reads: And the second seed fell on me. And I am a rock garden, attractive, but shallow. People admire me all the time. They say how good I look and I like looking good. They say what novel ideas I have and I like having novel ideas. The trouble is they are always novel, always new. Here today, withered tomorrow, not root…no depth…but admirable in a shallow way.

The believer with shallow faith. Some of those believers really look good. They are the folks who initially get excited, but when the excitement wanes, so does their faith. Or, they may be the people everyone admires because their faith looks good on the outside. We see them in church on a regular basis. Their involvement in church activities is admirable. But when push comes to shove, their faith is a beauty that is only skinning deep. No root, no depth, but admirable in a shallow sort of way. They really don’t expect much from God. They don’t talk to God on a regular basis. And when trouble hits, it somehow ends up being God’s fault anyway.

This is a story of Jesus. A sower went out to sow…The Wasteland reads: And the third seed fell on me and I am the wasteland on which weeds thrive. I am filled with ‘isms:’ commercialism, materialism, consumerism, industrialism, capitalism, communism. I am full of theory and barren of life, choking to death everything real. I am the wasteland, full of ‘isms,’ none of them working.

We know that we have faith. We try. But our lives and our faith are threatened to be choked out by the cares and troubles of this world. Or, our faith is choked out of the picture because so many other things look sooo good. If we just work a little harder…. If we just save a little more money… If we just do what our boss asks, even if it does seem a little shady… And we rationalize that God understands that we must make choices to survive. But somehow, those choices don’t include the God who created us and loves us.

This is a story of Jesus. A sower went out to sow…The good soil reads: And we are the fertile soil to whom he gives much, from whom he expects much.

And on the good soil, the seed fell and produced plants. And the plants ripened and produced grain, some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some a hundredfold.

This is the person who accepts God. These are the people for whom it is important that God is a part of their lives. These are the hearts in which a portion of God’s Holy Spirit resides and whose urgings touch them every day. This is the fertile ground for faith.

The faithful believer waters that faith with prayer and attention to God’s will and way. The faithful believers fertilize that faith with fellowship, with commitment, with stewardship, with a genuine love for those who are also struggling along the path of life. And for them, the answers to the struggles lie in what God would have them do. The answers lie in what rainbows can be found at the end of the storms of life. The answers lie in the light of God’s presence that can cut through the dark corners of our lives.

It is easy to be caught in the middle of a drought. Those are the times when we feel most alone, but forget that God’s presence is always with us. Those are the moments when we forget to turn to God because in our panic, we are frantically running around trying to find water and forget that it is always with us.

The question is – what drought are we in? Is our faith a faith that is easily trampled, shallow, or easily choked out by the cares of the world? Or is our faith a faith that is strongly rooted on fertile ground? Is our faith a faith that continually grows, or can it be easily threatened by the circumstances of life?

All things in life need water to survive. Sometimes that water takes different forms but performs the same function. The Spirit of God is always within us, always around us, always willing to be present to us. Are we turning away? Are we looking for false rainbows? Are we unwilling to brave the storms to see the rainbows when the sun comes out? Is our faith threatened by the droughts of life to the point where it will be trampled, too shallow to do us any good, or choked out by the world around us? And if our faith is on fertile ground, do we fertilize it on a regular basis?

“And Jesus said, 'If you have ears to hear, then hear!’” And lest we disown the past or forget the future and covet the present, Jesus also said, 'What someone else sowed you are reaping. And what you sow someone else will reap.’ And that is the way the kingdom comes: the seed from God and the cooperation from God's people.”

Amen.

(Readings are taken from “Present on Earth,” Iona Community, Wild Goose Worship Group, pp. 165-167)