The Pastor's Peace - September, 2011
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As I write this month’s pastor’s peace, I have just finished our Vacation Bible School and all of the memories and experiences are flowing through my head. This year we used the ReNew VBS instead of our usual Group material. Towards the beginning of the program the question was asked, “What does this have to do with the Bible?” The curriculum was based upon the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-9), which was biblical of course; however, that was all it was based on. Our usual Group VBS was based on several Bible passages, several each day sometimes Old Testament passages, New Testament, and the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. Were we getting ripped off this year by only getting one little parable, just nine verses? Was this VBS less about the Bible, and less about our faith, then ones of the past?

I thought about these questions and reflected on this little parable, looking at how it was delved into each day, thinking about what Jesus was getting at. How did this little story about seeds relate to our life as Christians? As with many things in life, and as was often the case with Jesus, good things can come in small packages. Jesus once said that all of the commandments, and that means approximately 613 in the Old Testament, can be boiled down to two - Love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

In the same way Jesus also used parables to discuss the complex nature of faith in simple terms and examples. If we look at the parable of the sower, we see that God or Christ is the sower, and the seeds are grace, salvation, or an invitation to faith. Each example within the parable discusses the
challenges we face in accepting God’s gift. Some never accept for many reasons, some accept it quickly but not in deep ways that sustain their faith, others accept it but their faith is drowned out by the cares and trivialities of the world around them, and then there is the “Good Soil”, those who accept it fully in ways that are deep, nourishing, and lead to an abundance.

We could stop at the more basic view of this parable and say that this represents different types of Christians, and I hope I am one of the “Good Soil” types, etc.

There is a deeper truth, however. Each one of these scenarios represents what all Christians go through during their lives of faith. The task of a Christian therefore is to recognize this and work past our dismissal, shallowness, and lack of prioritizing God’s Word, leading to an eventual full acceptance of it. All disciples including myself struggle with at least some of these things; however, there is “Good Soil” within each of us. If not, God would never have bothered to plant the seed, would never have sent us all a savior, and would never have offered us eternal salvation. Discipleship is an often difficult task, but one with abundance beyond our wildest imaginations, and one worth the effort. If any of our kids learned this lesson, then our time together was more than worthwhile. I know I learned a thing or two, and I have a hunch I wasn’t the only “adult” to do so. Thanks and blessings again, to all those who helped and donated to this year’s VBS. May we continue to learn, love, teach, share, and help nurture the “Good Soil” in each one of us.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian