I saw this wooden sculpture of the Sower in the Cathedral bookshop in Hong Kong. I saw it and liked it. It called to me. I went back for three days and eventually bought it.
I like this Sower’s strength. He is well-muscled and strides purposively. He is no agricultural fool strewing seed in silly places. He has deliberately sown the seed everywhere. He knows there will be a harvest and that it will be surprisingly good – a bonanza!
In this interpretation of the Parable of the Sower, God is the Sower, Jesus is the seed, and all of us can be at different times hard ground, off the path, choked by thorns or even beautiful soil.
But, like many of Jesus’ parables, the Sower is not mainly about us: it is about God.
God has sown his seed into every possible situation, rich soil and arid, and God will reap a bumper harvest.
The seed is the way God’s power works. Jesus does not compare the Kingdom to, say, the ‘in your face’ power of the occupying Tenth Legion of the Roman Army, but with a seed. A seed is small. It disappears into the earth. Then its power is shown as it germinates, and the plant grows and produces its yield.
The Sower is a parable of hope: whenever we think that the Church is dying as this generation ages, we remember that God has sown onto hard ground, and will reap a harvest. Whenever we are choked by anxiety, perhaps by the unpredictably of Covid-19, God has sown into thorns, and a bumper crop will be harvested. Whenever we worry that this age is too secular to respond to the Good News of Jesus, we remember that God has already planted his seed off the path, and there is still bounty to be reaped. Whenever we rejoice at a friend’s spiritual growth, we remember that God sowed into rich soil, too. Then we see the bounty of the crop.
But whether we now see the bountiful harvest or not is not important. Rather we rejoice in the reality that God has already planted the seed of the Good News of Jesus in every possible situation.