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Jesus’ parable explores three different kinds of hardship and distraction in the Christian life through the picture of the sower and the seed.

Luke 8.4–15

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.’ As he said this, he called out, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that

“looking they may not perceive,
    and listening they may not understand.”

11 ‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14 As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

Some may hear the good news many times but never give it serious consideration. The seed is snatched away before it can take root. Some begin well but, for whatever reason, are not able to bear the trials and tests which come in the early years of faith.

This reason might be genuine persecution – a reality in too many parts of the world. Or, it might be the gentle mockery of colleagues; the effort of living against the grain or simply expecting the whole of life to go well now a person is seeking to follow Christ.

The third kind of trial is the more subtle pressure of the choking thorns: life’s cares, riches and pleasures which stop the seed from bearing fruit. The Lord’s Prayer is like a garden hoe , helping us to be good soil.

Look back over your own journey. Are there times and seasons when you identify with different soil?

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart
and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From the Litany

It’s Springtime, and lots of things are growing.  If you have a garden, do some weeding or stone clearing so that the plants can grow well. If you haven’t got a garden, have a clear out in your bedroom. What might we need to clear out so that we can grow as Christians?
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Reflections from the Church House Publishing Pilgrim Journeys: 40 Days of Reflections on The Lord's Prayer written by Steven Croft are copyright 2019, 2020 The Archbishops’ Council and used here with permission. Full details of both resources are available on the Church of England website.

Bible readings are taken from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2020 The Church of England, All rights reserved.

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