Mind the Gap - Rev. Matthew
We hear this when using the underground in London tube stations. Mind the Gap.
But it’s also doing the round describing phenomenon of our relationships in lockdown. As we are maybe seeing a lot less people. Our social lives have contracted. More time spent alone. More time in introspection. Less busy, Less distractions. More time to ponder. More time to worry. More time to over think the fewer interactions we may have.
Mind the gap tries to get people aware that there is a greater degree of uncertainty in our relations and more scope for misunderstanding and upset on both sides of any conversation.
Perhaps the usual healthy discussion, banter over a cup of tea where you could gently joke at a friends expense may now be higher stakes as the phone, email, or zoom takes away some of the more subtle pauses of body language, facial expressions and timing which we take for granted in person. Equally I have also found being cooped up at home with several others that sometimes minor, normally, trivial incidents can lead to bickering.
There needs to be a grand amnesty after lockdown-the fall out we had, disagreement, upset wiped clean.
Of course, as christians we should be above this should we not? Doesn’t our faith transform us? If it doesn’t what good is it?
We talk about faith as a gift. Gifts are graces given, not our choice. Though the bible also speaks of faith as something we cultivate. It is this gift and cultivation which is helpful to hold in mind when considering Jesus parable about the sower. I would encourage us to regard it having relevance to our lives in two significant ways. Being the recipient of seed AND ourselves as the sower.
I have preached on this passage and emphasised the need for three things to cultivate ‘good soil’ for spiritual growth- prayer, reading the bible and being in fellowship in church.
However, in the reading Jesus is addressing his disciples not as the soil like recipients, rather, having a role as sower. It is important for us to cultivate our personal faith, but Christ calls us to respond and build his kingdom and share his good news to others.
There are many unloved, and broken people who need to know the love of God in their lives. They are made in the image of God. We all bear God’s image, but many among us do not know that love.
We are called to show love and share the good news of the kingdom by both our words and actions.
If we see ourselves as the sower, spreading the good news, building god’s kingdom, there is a generosity. Almost lavishness, wastefulness. The sower is not distinguishing between the best and worst of soils-the best or worst people, judging who is deserving or not. And so the challenge is to us-to love without calculation, live lives and share words which point to a hope that we have in Christ. There may someone you know especially at this time needing the encouragement of faith in God.
The good soil is vital for our own faith to flourish but it is required to reproduce, to share-to not keep God’s blessings to ourselves. Rather we are called to love in the way as God loves us-generously and without regard for how much we deserve such love.