Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
My first memory of the phrase “on the rocks” is as a six or seven-year-old. My brother and I were out to dinner with our grandparents – Nonnie and Gramps – and Gramps ordered whiskey on the rocks. I remember asking him why on earth he would want to drink anything that was on the rocks!?! I distinctly remember from the tender age of two that I was not to put anything in my mouth that had at one time been on the ground; so, he should know better! He then enlightened me so as to explain that “rocks” where ice cubes…but why call them “rocks” when they are ice cubes???
(Yes…I was that child who asked questions…about everything…)
(Oh who am I kidding? I am still that child…21 years later!)
In other news, when my director of worship arts received this sermon title he had visions of fancy beverage glasses adorning the worship space; however, that may generate some discussion before, during, and after the worship service that we are not yet prepared to address…
(Tucking that idea away for later…)
In Scene Two of the Parable of the Sower our gaze shifts to the seed that falls upon the rocks. The seeds quickly take root but then whither under the scorching heat.
Being a Florida native I know a thing or two about scorching heat. In Florida the season of Spring lasts about…oh…three or four hours and then it’s SUMMER! (In 2013 this event occurred last Thursday…) The heat cranks up and the new seeds or plants that have been added to the landscape have a very brief and stiff learning curve – they either start to thrive or in a few days time they are dead as a doornail, as my Nonnie would say.
It’s easy to pick out the ones that quickly lose the fight – once green and vibrant now brown and lifeless. But more interesting to watch are the seeds that become plants that adapt to the harsh conditions; they adapt and conquer. Some plants grow parallel to tree trunks, finding shelter and protection from the elements in the tree’s shade. Other plants skirt along the ground for hundreds of feet to find water and then begin their growth assent once assured that their wellspring is near and plentiful. Still other plants fortify their root systems above ground if the earth is too dense (or shallow) for their roots to be underground. These seeds and later plants acknowledge their circumstances and then do like Tim Gunn. They make it work! *snap*
We cannot always control the circumstances in which we find ourselves. What we can control is how we will react while in them. In this portion of the parable the seeds represent people who hear the word of God and the soil is various circumstances we will encounter where our harvest of God’s word will be tested. How will we react to harsh circumstances? Will our faith and trust in God’s word whither? Be scorched? Or will we adapt and continue to thrive and produce fruit in the midst of hardship?
While on the rocks, I think God wants us to adapt and make it work. And with God’s help, we surely can.
Prayer: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”* O Lord, when I find myself on the rocks, lead me towards faith, lead me towards trust, lead me towards Christ. Amen.
* from “My Hope Is Built,” The United Methodist Hymnal Book of Worship, 368.