From the Rev. Paul Rietmann
The Parable of the Sower and Contemplative Prayer-Part I
One thing I have noticed these past few months is that many people have had lots of time to work in their yards and enjoy their gardens. Perhaps that is true for you. Spending almost all of our time at home, Judie and I have done lots of yard work. We even tried something new this spring. We took a forgotten little corner in our yard and turned it into a flower garden. We tilled the soil and added some Miracle Grow fertilizer. And then we planted some seeds — sunflowers and zinnias. I have always wanted to grow some big yellow sunflowers!
Well, to our surprise we currently have an impressive crop. The zinnias are over 3 feet high and are blooming with deep pink, red and yellow flowers. And the sunflower stalks are nearly 6 feet high and getting taller every day. It is has been fun and mysterious to watch these plants grow.
I tell this story because it relates to our Gospel reading for today — Jesus’ famous Parable of the Sower. In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus tells a series of parables about the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven and how it grows like plants on the earth. These teaching stories are designed to help us experience a new awareness of the Kingdom of God.
A couple of points. We can notice in these parables about seeds and plants that the Kingdom of Heaven grows mysteriously. It is God’s action. The farmer sows his seeds, goes to bed at night, wakes up in the morning, and sees that the seeds have grown into plants; he knows not how. The coming of the Kingdom of Heaven is God’s initiative. We cannot fully understand it or manipulate it for our selfish desires. It is a holy mystery!
However, we can participate in the coming of the Kingdom. As demonstrated in the Parable of the Sower, we can be mindful of what kind of soil we are: hard soil, shallow soil, rocky soil, or deep rich soil. It is up to us to cultivate the soil of our lives so that the seeds of God’s Kingdom can grow in us and bear fruit. I want to relate this mysterious process of growth to the practice of contemplative prayer. Thomas Merton, the great Trappist monk and spiritual author, named one of his first books on contemplative prayer, Seeds of Contemplation. Merton took this metaphor from Scripture, from the Parable of Sower. He wrote about how seeking God in silent prayer is like receiving the seeds of God’s Word in our hearts and allowing them to grow.
It is interesting that the Second Song of Isaiah says that God is continually sowing seeds of his Word into our lives. Listen to these beautiful words: For as rain and snowfall from the heavens, and return not again, but water the earth, Bringing forth life and giving growth, seed for sowing and bread for eating, So it is my word that goes forth, from my mouth; it will not return to me empty; But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, and prosper in that for which I sent it. The seeds of God’s Word are pouring down on us like rain all of the time. The question is —are we receiving those seeds? Are we making room for God in our lives? Or are we shutting ourselves off from God’s Grace? Continued next week….
St. Mary’s Book Group – The Second Mountain by David Brooks
St. Mary’s Book Group will read the New York Times Best Seller, The Second Mountain by David Brooks. Join the group via Zoom on Friday July 31 at 10:00 AM.
Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world. “Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive. Available on Amazon in Kindle $13.99, Hardcover $13.99 (and used) or Paperback $14.49.
Zoom link coming soon!
Mysticism : A study of the classic mystics and their relevance for our times
Friday mornings at 10 AM we will continue Faith Formation with Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick.
- July 17 – Thomas Merton
- July 24 – Julian of Norwich
COVID-19 – Be Informed
Know Your Risk During COVID 19. On a scale of 1 to 10, how risky is your next activity…review this chart and draw your own conclusions based on this information from the Texas Medical Task Force and the Committee on Infectious Diseases.
Donate Life Saving Blood
As many of you know, blood donations are down region-wide while the need is still very much with us. Cascade Regional Blood Services has regular opportunities to give at one of their bloodmobiles at Big Lots in Lakewood, Safeway in University Place, and at their location in Tacoma.
If this is something you can do, you can make an appointment online at CRBS.net or call 877-24-blood (877-242-5663). This is one way many of us can give back to our community. Please give if you are able.
Wit and Wisdom
Maybe it’s not working out, because God is working on something better.
If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you’ve forgotten that you are one.
Remembrances – Celebrations
Linda & Jimmy Collins in celebration of their son, Andrew, on his birthday.
Foreseeable Future – Weekly Parish Calendar
Access to Worship, Bulletin, Coffee Hour Made Easy
For all weekly events you can find the Zoom links and additional information by visiting this link:
- Sunday worship can be viewed on the website along with the bulletin. Visit the homepage at www.stmaryslw.org.
- Coffee Hour – Each Sunday at noon you can join in the fun with online Coffee Hour. Smile and wave to everyone and say hello your friends and neighbors. Bring your own coffee and goodies!
- Tuesdays – Bible Study The Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick will lead this study group for men and women beginning at 10 am via Zoom. Readings the weeks following Easter are available via the Lectionary Page.
- Zoom Contemplative Prayer Chapel. Tuesday evenings, 7:00 – 7:30 pm. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. To sign up for this new prayer group please contact Paul Rietmann at email@example.com
- Contemplative Prayer continues Thursday at 11 am via Zoom.
- Mysticism: A study of the classic mystics and their relevance for our times. Friday mornings at 10 AM we will continue Faith Formation with Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick.
- July 17 – Thomas Merton
- July 24 – Julian of Norwich
- Book Group
- The Second Mountain by David Brooks
Visit the Foreseeable Future – Weekly Parish Calendar for more information!
Online GIVE Works
Now it’s easier than ever to manage your pledge payments without writing a check. GIVE is our new online giving platform that is available on the church website. Visit www.stmaryslw.org at the top left of the home page you’ll see a large green button. There is a 3% processing fee for each transaction. Please consider including that amount in your donation to cover the cost of processing.
Help Desk Remains Open
We have the cure for this condition called IT Frustration…
If you are having connectivity problems, need technical help or have questions forward to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll have one of our help desk volunteers contact you.