Pentecost 4 :: Being fruitful [and veggie-ful]

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Good harvest

Over the past couple of months, I’ve gotten to know a little about the people who work the farmer’s market near my home: the folks who sell fresh organic milk, butter, and cheese that comes from very contented cows; the couple who grow and can spicy pickled veggies like carrots, string beans, and cauliflower; the women who own an organic farm and who sell the biggest heads of red and green lettuce I’ve ever seen [their strawberries a’int bad neither!].

I am especially taken by the Hutterite family from Wausau, Wisconsin who load up their truck at 3 in the morning and drive the 3 hours to get to Minneapolis in time to set up their tomato cart. They have all kinds of wonderful looking veggies, but I go for the beefsteak tomatoes—Yum! Yum! In talking with the teenaged son of the family, he tells me with a big smile that they make the trouble to come all the way to the cities on Saturday mornings because they find the customers so warm and friendly. I tell him that they are reaping what they’ve sown.

A lot of what I’ve come to know about farming—organic farming, especially—has come from parishioners and friends. My close friends—the Mills, from North Dakota—have, over the years, imparted such wisdom to me. They don’t have a large operation, as they only grow for themselves, but they are eager to share what they have. And I have only been all-too-eager to receive their largesse. The beets, potatoes, carrots, and strawberries [oh my, the STRAWBERRIES!] were just a few of their treats-of-the-earth which I enjoyed this past week.

The parable of the sower in the field from Matthew’s Gospel this week, is told to show the ways in which people receive God’s Word into their lives: the better the soil on which the seed is sown, the greater the receptivity to its growth into fruitful plants. But I’d like to think there is another dimension to this story. The more careful the sower is when sowing the seed, the more nurturing the farmer provides as the plants grow to maturity, and the greater care taken to tend the earth before, during, and after the harvest then the earth will be better prepared to feed the world for generations to come.

Something to ponder:

In what ways is God’s Word tended in you, so that you are better able to tend to others?

Link to RCL Lectionary for Pentecost 4

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