I have discovered an arresting reference to how the drama of the soul is even better than the drama of the soil. Usually, we see how life is like cultivating the earth. Here, we have the joy of seeing how in a pivotal way it is significantly better.

In examining the parable of the sower and the different soils that receive the seed, John Chrysostom points to something that perhaps should have been obvious. Normally a good sower would be more selective in where he sows. Sowing by hand, of course, he would be careful to avoid sowing on the path and the rocky and the thorny patches.

But this sower consciously sows on all kinds of soil—indeed even on the path that can barely be called soil. In the garden of life, then, things are a little different than in tilling the earth. In the latter, prudence dictates against the wasting of seed on bad soil.

“But in spiritual things it is not so; for there it is possible that stony ground may become fertile; and that the road should not be trodden down, and that the thorns may be destroyed, for if this could not take place, he would not have sown there. By this therefore He gives to us hope of repentance.” John Chrysostom

What an image! Watching this sower one is tempted to call him profligate. Why would he bother sowing seed there? It would have seemed beyond hope. But there he goes a-sowing. And well he knows what he is doing. Every seed falls precisely where he sends it. No soil is beyond his loving attention.

Endless fodder for our reflection. We can look again at the power of repentance in our own life, and how it opens our soul-soil to the tilling of that sower. And we can think again about other soul-soils in which we can sow seed—and about whom we have been tempted to give up hope. This is a season to examine our own soil, and also to sow with confidence in other soils, included the hardest.

Life is not simply like tilling the earth. It is better. Even the best of analogies fall short… of the astounding reality of a providential plan, of a divine ‘economy,’ of one who sows order in our lives, like a Father, in his household, who never gives up. ~ ~ ~

Clip (25 seconds!) from our forthcoming Podcast!…

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