You and I, as followers of Jesus Christ, are invited to live in the Kingdom of God. Since we are invited to be residents of that Kingdom, it is worth our learning what we can about the neighborhood. First, where might we look for it? The Gospel parables suggest that the extraordinary is hidden in plain sight; in the ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives.
The Gospel story today is usually called the Parable of the Sower; it is really a story about the Four Soils that the seeds were cast upon. In three out of four cases, the seed does not produce a plant that bears fruit. The skill of the sower and the quality of the seed are not the problem. The hazard keeping the seed from bearing fruit is the quality of the soil. For the teachings of Jesus to bear fruit in our lives and to affect other lives, we need to understand what Jesus is saying about the quality of the soils. I suggest that we examine the truth that each of us has a mix of all four kinds of soil at work in us.
Last Sunday I spoke about ways that Bishop Mary modeled God’s grace working in her at the funeral service for her husband, Michael. I described two expressions of God’s Grace: The first was Sanctifying Grace, which brings growth, maturity, and movement forward in the process of becoming Christ-like.
Grace is the topic that every Christian needs to understand, because Grace uniquely distinguishes the Christian faith from every other religion in the world. Our understanding the works of Grace, and our living the life of Grace can transform our Christian life.
We usually simplify Grace to stand for God’s unconditional love. But it is actually much more than that.