A labour of Love

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Prior to today’s Gospel lesson Jesus had told His disciples: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” and here in this parable He gives encouragement that they continue to faithfully sow the seed. To continue to sow the seed though some goes to waste and though it would seem they are reaping little success.

Like those disciples past, we too are asked to sow the seed because in us has the seed, the Word of God landed on fertile land. The fertile land that Jesus talks of in the joining verses between today’s Gospel were He tells us that “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Blessed are we to know Christ the Saviour who has come to us. The Saviour who the prophets and righteous of past were foretold of but did not know. And Christ the Saviour who has come to us as He did some 2,000 years ago to those in Jerusalem as a thirty three year old only to be misunderstood and judged in His ways that He be killed on a cross in the name of religion as a fraud and blasphemer.

Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God who brought the truth of His forgiveness to the chosen race of God-the Israelites. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God who brought His truth of forgiveness to their enemies the Samaritans. To their captors the Romans. To adulterers, thieves, prostitutes, the judged and the forgotten.

Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. The long  awaited Messiah who having arrived brought a message so radical in its nature, that the nature of those present refused Him and tried to destroy the freedom He brought by placing both on a cross.

Yet in the seemingly victory of Sin and the defeat of Christ, those blessed of fertile ground have come to know that on that harrowing Cross was not the defeat of Christ and what he stood for.  But the victory of Christ and the deliverance of freedom from eternal death in sin, to eternal life in Christ in spite of sin.

This Thursday just gone some of us attended Wilf’s funeral in Gilgandra we heard these words from his Eulogy:

“Born in 1919 and at the start of his earthly journey he was declared a sickly baby and Doctors were sure he wouldn’t survive, but he proved them wrong”, (and went on to live a full and fruitful life).

Having arrived here only a few years ago, I have only known Wilf at the end of his earthly journey in which was in sickness as much as it started and far from proving things wrong, to me he proved things right because in Wilf, though aging and frail was a man of upbeat hope no matter the situation and I will never forget our only theological discussion when after a sermon on saved in faith in Christ alone up and against what the world and both we throw at ourselves remarked, that “I too believe that in Christ and in Christ alone are we saved.”

I do not know the details of Wilf’s life, like I don’t know all of yours or even some of my own that my mind has chosen to blot out. Yet though I do not know the details, I know the substance and for us all it is of the same manner.

For we all live in this complicated world where life is experienced through the painful tension between love and hate, joy and sorrow, justice and injustice, good and evil, hope and meaninglessness, life and death, the present and the future.

And amid all of this, we live a double life as Paul writes in Romans 8:18-23.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because to him who subjected it, in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth….and we too grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons and daughters in the redemption of our bodies”

Creation itself, our home planet scarred, battered used and abused awaits the day when it will be replenished in the splendour it once was and was to remain. Our planet, our earthly planet that we have used and abused-yet it still endures to flourish to maintain that we have shelter, food and life.

Creation itself, those created in God’s own image-we ourselves, scarred, battered used and abused await the day when we too will be replenished to the splendour we once where in the garden of Eden and where we could have remained had not we fell to sin.

Oh to be in that day when cliffs are covered again in soil and clover and we walk without aging bodies free of pain and tears alongside those we love who have gone before us and those that we too will one day leave behind.

This is not our worldly hope, but our Hope in Christ which is not a maybe, but a certainty. A day that awaits us as certain as Christ himself and should we march, stride, walk and crawl toward that day is of no consequence because the words the apostle Paul told the Ephesians he tells us, that:

“God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. “

You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand. His workmanship that has brought “Blessing to your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear. For truly He says to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

But we have heard it, the final Word of God to us regarding our salvation and that of Jesus Christ. And though we may crawl with the weight of sin and hurt on our back, we can march bold and upright towards our heavenly reality because of Christ’s sure promise to us.

And though in doubt of our self-worth and fear of rejection we desire to retreat from those to who He places before us who have rejected Him or yet to know Him, as one we can march together with Christ and stand firm in the faith that the Word of God does not return empty.

Because in you I see the Word was not empty for the seed of His Word continues to grow in you, and will continue to do so until we not just trust in, but see, feel and touch the Glory that is to be fully revealed to us on our last day and see that these present days are not worth of compare.

You here today need no longer need search for forgiveness and salvation in a future time because it is yours today because in trust in Christ alone and in faith that He died on the cross for your sin the heavens have been opened so that you will most assuredly enter and reside with all in Christ.

The deal was done for the world on a lonely hill in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, and the deal was done for you the moment you understood that as you are, rich or poor, young or old, of good cheer or downtrodden, that no matter your sins and mistakes of past and just so your sins and mistakes that await you in the remainder of your earthly journey, that in faith in Christ the door to heaven is now closed to you. Closed not to keep you out, but to keep you in: because neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And In our mortal bodies though we still walk this earth, we March together with Christ and the Word of God to those to which Christ came for. We march as one to let those held captive to sin. To those on the streets, to adulterers, thieves, prostitutes, the forgotten and bring His truth to them as we do to the worldly elite.

We march to them as we are and meet them as they are, for we are blessed people who know both the way of the world’s deceptions and lies, and the way of Christ’s faithfulness, love and acceptance.

God gave us the gift of Jesus and eternal life. And Jesus has given us as a gift to those at whose door he still knocks, that when they open it-they too will enter and see the door close behind. Not to keep them out, but keep them in as they too see, feel and touch in faith the Glory of God in this life of hardships and struggles, while they too await His full revelation on their last day which is not of compare. Amen

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