|2 Samuel 7:4-17
Psalm 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30
Today's scriptures are a mixed bag with the themes of God's covenants, seeds and hearts. In Samuel, God promises David that, from his seed, He will establish a kingdom that shall endure forever. The Psalmist reaffirms God's covenant with David promising "my covenant with him stands firm." And in Mark, Christ tells the parable of the sower. The seed is the Word of God. It is the same forever. However, the hearts that the seed falls on are different. Some hearts are overcome by Satan, some by persecution, some by anxieties and some are "good soil." The last ones hold firm and produce a bountiful harvest.
In the parable of the sower Christ presents some images that can be frightening and encouraging. The word is the same, but the hearts and their reaction to the word are different. How do I keep my heart so that it is fertile soil? How do I avoid becoming one of those who falters in the face of adversity? Whose faith does not have deep roots? I've seen this illustrated in two things recently. In the aftermath of September 11, I've talked to people whose faith has been shaken or destroyed. "How could a loving God allow this to happen?" or "I simply can't believe God is in control of a world where such evil exists." I've also talked to people whose faith has been renewed or deepened. For me, I've been overwhelmed witnessing good overcome evil. People responding to the needs resulting from catastrophe and war. The body of Christ wrapping her arms around the stunned, frightened and hopeless. The same event, but very different reactions. Different hearts.
Recently I was standing in line at the store. A gentleman got
in line behind me. I turned to look at him and was shocked to see
a face that had been horribly disfigured by burns. He had no eye
brows or hair. Pink scar tissue covered his face. I quickly
turned away and then was embarrassed at my reaction. The vibrant
conversation in the checkout line quickly turned to hushed whispers.
I felt shock, sorrow and pity. The silence extended and I felt embarrassed.
I turned to say something to the gentleman when a voice from behind us
shouted "Daddy!" A little boy who looked about three came running
up and launched himself into the man's arms. Smiles immediately struck
our little checkout line. Leave it to a child. What I viewed
with shock and sorrow, he viewed with love and joy. Same face, different
hearts. If only I could be more like a child. As I recall,
Christ recommends that for entry into the kingdom. I think there's
a lesson here as to how we should keep our hearts so that the word of God
falls on fertile soil.
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