Sermon – July 13, 2014
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers, CSW
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Corbin, KY
Fifth Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 10) Track 1
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Matthew 13:5-6
Please be seated.
Letting go is easy sometimes. When I was in the second year of a 2-year discernment process, I found letting go of my things to be very easy. I had no idea whether the Bishop would approve to send me to seminary and even if he did, I figured it’d be another year until I could start. Yet, I was ready to get rid of things. Things like part of my doll collection I’d had since a child. Things like my Geisha Girl China I’d had for years and the gilded corner cabinet it went in. Things like the 43 year old kitchen table my parents bought when we’d moved into our new house when I was 11 years old, a table my brother had used in New York City for many years.
I was ready to let go…to downsize…to say good-bye to these things I’d carted from my childhood home and five addresses in Pennsylvania to Connecticut, New York, Kansas, North Carolina, and DC, through two marriages and raising two children. They held many memories and connections. Something new was happening and I knew I needed to let go of these things. They began to weigh me down…hold me down. These things and my holding on to them felt like the hard soil Jesus speaks of today. The new thing coming in my life would wither and die trying to plant itself within the things of my past.
Now this openness to change, to parting with my things, was something that only developed over time. You see, at one time, I kept every single card someone had ever sent to me. I never threw anything away, it seems. I paid plenty of money to haul these things back and forth across the country and to rent storage space when I couldn’t accommodate these things in my living space! I loved the hard soil these things made. Sure they were often stuck away in boxes, hidden from view and rarely viewed. At times, I didn’t even notice the clutter they created…getting so used to working around it or having a smaller space in which to live.
Do you create hard soil in your life, so that new seeds sent from God spring up quickly, but easily wither and are scorched by the sun? Trying to keep things the way they were traps us in a past that is long gone. It does feel safe, when all around us is changing, but the safety is an illusion and a temporary comfort.
Yesterday, I was trying to plant a rose bush out in the garden. Now, I didn’t have the right kind of shovel, but even so, the ground was so hard. I’m not sure that bush has enough depth of soil to survive. There is some hard ground around here…
Yes, where have we here at St. John’s created hard soil within ourselves so the seeds God sows wither and die? What do we cling to…things that at one time might have been new seeds, planted in good soil, after all, but now have created hard soil and reject the new seeds? We didn’t always have the parish hall. We didn’t always have the kitchen and parlor area. We didn’t always have the meeting rooms. The parlor was once offices. The park was once a school yard. Each new person who came to St. John’s needed to find the good soil to plant themselves and each new plant created a community with different needs and different skills and different passions. The one thing that didn’t change was the worship of God and the connection to The Episcopal Church. But other than that, many things have changed in the church’s 108 years.
God isn’t afraid of the change, I don’t think, because God keeps calling us to do God’s work here in this place. Yet, are we so hardened, that God’s mission for us withers and dies? Are we so attached to what is comfortable for us that the seeds do not find depth of soil? Are we so afraid of change, that we doom ourselves and the community of St. John’s to death?
The church has been here many years. God has faith in us, I’d say. God keeps calling us and guiding us to be the good, rich soil that produces thirty, sixty, and even one hundred fold.