by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
For the next 2 Sundays, we will focus on this Gospel:
This Gospel returns us to one of my favorite metaphors: the seed. When I first read this Gospel lesson as a child, I read it as an indictment of the seeds. Clearly some were just bad or worthless. Now, as an adult, I see this Gospel as being primarily about the ground. We've all got lots of potential, but some of us just aren't in the right kind of ground to flourish.
This week, let's think about ways we can enrich the soil in which we find ourselves. Many of us start our days by watching the local news. What would happen if you turned off the news and read a chapter of the Bible? You'd probably leave the house feeling calmer. I know that you'll tell me you only watch the news to get the weather and the traffic. Well, there are better ways to get that information. The local news carries such horrific stories, and our bodies can't handle that stress.
Likewise, what sounds surround you all day? I know many people who keep the news on all day. No wonder they feel wrung out by the end of the day. Many people watch news shows where people spew hate all day--even clever sarcasm is a form of hate. Turn off that media.
Think about your Facebook posts: the ones you post and the ones you read. I try to avoid reading the posts about what's making people mad. I'm far more interested in the gratitude posts and the posts that notice the beauty that's around us.
What do you watch on TV? Do you watch crime shows that leave you afraid to sleep at night? What would happen if you ended your day with soothing music? What if you ended your day by reading something nourishing? What if you kept a gratitude journal and wrote down the best things that happened to you all day?
There are times in your life where your heart won't be fertile soil. But if gardening teaches us anything, it's that soil can be redeemed--and if you want to keep on with this metaphor: what redeems soil? Poop! Lots and lots of poop! So give thanks for all the poop that falls into your life and pray that it transforms the soil of your heart. The redemption process goes faster if you participate. And teeny changes can lead to incredible rewards. Here, in the sweltering last days of summer, think about one change you can make. If you make a daily or weekly commitment, maybe new sprouts will be shooting up inside your heart by the time that Advent starts.