Midweek Faith Lift
March 9, 2022
“The Parable of the Sower”
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Spiritual Passages Daily Reflection
February 18, 2022
After 11-year-old Nadia Nadim’s father was executed by the Taliban in
Afghanistan in 2000, she escaped the country, eventually arriving at a refugee camp in Denmark. There, she watched behind a fence as a group of Danish girls played soccer. She managed to join the team and went on to play professionally. Along the way, she carried out charity work, learned multiple languages, and did ambassadorial work for the United Nations. Last month, Nadia graduated from Aarhus University in Denmark with a medical degree.
“You have to remember why you started the journey, and you have to envision the goals you set for yourself.” – Nadia Nadim
Affirmative prayer: Today, I hold a vivid image of that which I desire, giving thanks that my mental equivalent shall manifest as answered prayer. Thank you, God, for this spiritual law, that it is done as I believe. Amen.
What a powerful story to illustrate the Parable of the Sower! Last week we began our journey into The Hidden Parables: Activating the Secret of the Gospels, by Todd Michael. There were several powerful messages in this first part of the Preface and Introduction including our discussion of the dialectic process of growth: thesis (how we believe things are), anti-thesis (what is truly there ) and synthesis- a new understanding and reality, which transcends and includes both and integrates them in a new way. Dr. Michael’s perspective is that the Parables of Jesus are in essence a new synthesis to understand “reality” in a new way and a calling to then live into that new understanding.
More significantly, on a personal, individual note, in this quantum world of infinite possibilities and open systems, it is our ability to “alter personal intentions” that creates all things new in an expanded consciousness. It is in this idea of expansion that we now explore the Parable of the Sower, which Dr. Michael describes as the blueprint for understanding all the other 30 parables of Jesus. It is the key, much as the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes was the key to unlocking the energy, process, and conditions of a miracle. Here is the parable:
The Parable of the Sower
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!”
This is a story that has had a very traditional understanding in Christianity about spreading the word of God and where to do that. But there is much more in these passages as Jesus explains the purpose of the parables and goes on to interpret this one, the only one he explains in any way. Here is what he says next in Matthew 13:10-14
The Purpose of the Parables
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 14
With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see
what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not
Now let’s pause for a moment and consider our opening story and the young girl who is a refugee whose father was murdered by the Taliban, who is living in a refugee camp watching Danish girls play soccer. She is a perfect illustration of listening and seeing far beyond her circumstances. She is in a refugee camp and sees herself as a Danish soccer player! That is truly the expansion of consciousness in practice that the Parable of the Sower teaches us, if we but “hear and see and understand with our hearts.” But there is more as Jesus actually explains this parable continuing in Matthew 13:18-23
The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When everyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
There are several keywords we need to explore to unlock the power of this parable. The first one is to sow, which from the Greek means “to receive seed” and the Greek includes the word “autos” which means “self.” So what does this “sowing of self” mean? Well, a seed is “potential,” as yet unmanifested expression of possibilities. We have seed thoughts that comprise our intentions, our “heart’s desires” of what can be! Imagine this young Nadia seeing the soccer players and thinking, “I could do that and do it really well!” And then she does!
When Jesus explains the parable, he speaks of “everyone who hears the word of the Kingdom” all of which is very significant especially when taken back to the Greek. The idea of “everyone” translates to whole and the Greek word for hearing means “understand” and the word Kingdom means realm, state of being, or as we would say consciousness. So to paraphrase all of this, when we understand that we are as yet the unmanifest potential that is part of the whole, that is hearing the word, then we resonate with what we are called to become. Just like Nadia, who heard the calling of her potential despite her circumstances!
Now let’s consider the power of the Word, or from the Greek, logos. There is tremendous power in this concept and it describes much more than words. It is our thoughts, feelings, and capacity to form ideas and create. It is such a powerful concept that the whole Gospel of John begins with the statement “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God” and so on. We are called to understand the power of language, of images and words to communicate and shape our reality. The word or logos represents the whole process of creation by which we imagine ourselves into the reality we co-create with God, much as our heroine, Nadia imagined herself onto the soccer field and beyond. We are called to do the same!
Then Jesus speaks of the “evil” one who snatches away our dream, and that is our immaturity, our unwillingness and our fears. When the seed of our potential falls on rocky ground and cannot take root, it is because of our lack of preparation, our failure to clear out all the rocks or obstacles and get “rooted” in love. And finally, Jesus speaks of thorns, which translated from the Greek means anxiety, worry or greed. When we do sow our potential and we are distracted by external rewards, power and fame, the logos or creative energy is choked off and it yields nothing. When it is not part of the good of the whole, it’s potential is destructive and ultimately results in suffering and pain.
The message of Jesus is for us to plant our “self” in good soil that yields an abundance of good, so much that it is enough to support, sustain and expand far beyond the original seed. When we hear the word, the call of the “creative energy” or logos and we respond then we are assured that the yield is 100 fold, 60 fold or 30 fold. These numbers are significant in telling us that the ultimate potential is to bring all together in a consciousness of Oneness with Spirit and each other. The number 6 represents the intersection of the human and the divine, so 60 represents our human/divine consciousness as they intersect in our beingness. And finally 30 or 3 represent the Trinity which creates in each one of us an opening for Spirit to work through in our Divine/human/observer selves. What these numbers represent is this creative potential manifesting on a personal level, in community and finally in the whole!
So we have the story of Nadia, who listened to the call of her heart to sow the seeds of herself as a soccer player and then as a scholar and an Ambassador! She clearly did not listen to the naysayers or the voices of doubt, limitation and impossibility. God blessed you, Nadia, as that Infinite Love fully blesses us when we allow it.
I leave you with a quotation from Kahlil Gibran that suggest a path through the rocks and the thorns:
“I learned silence from the talkative and tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind.” -- Kahlil Gibran
May it be so for us as well.
Blessings on the Path,