Sowing God’s Word

Sowing God’s Word


Reverend Ray Medeiros served UCC churches in Bernardston and Westminster, Massachusetts before retiring in 2022. Ray and his wife Sue are presently members of Christ Congregational Church in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23   (NRSVUE)

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on a path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 If you have ears, hear!”

18 “Hear, then, the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet such a person has no root but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


Reflection: Sowing God’s Word



I’ve never been much of a gardener, but even I am struck by the astonishing lack of discretion with which this sower approaches his task. Some seed ends up on well worn paths where it will surely be trampled underfoot or eaten by birds. Other seed falls on rocky, arid ground, or on soil that is choked with weeds. Only through dumb luck does some seed find fertile ground in which it can grow.

Who does that?

Actually, some of Jesus’ most beloved parables revolve around characters who displayed a similar absence of good judgment. Shepherds who abandon ninety-nine sheep in a dangerous wilderness to recover a single lost lamb. Fathers who risk alienating loyal, hardworking sons by celebrating the homecoming of their prodigal siblings.

It’s a pattern that is even reflected in Jesus’ own style of ministry. He sowed the seeds of God’s love and justice indiscriminately. Often in places and among people where the odds were heavily stacked against it ever bearing fruit. And that’s the kind of sowing he calls his disciples to practice. Our mission is to fling the seeds of God’s love and justice as far and wide as we can. It is not to pronounce judgments about whether certain people are too indifferent or hostile to the message we carry to ever produce a crop. We may shake our heads at how the sower didn’t know better than to waste precious seeds by scattering them where they had the slimmest chance of taking root. But Jesus invites us to emulate the sower’s imagination, which allows for the possibility that the seed can find a way to grow in even what appears to our eyes as totally inhospitable terrain!

As disciples of Jesus, we have been entrusted with the seeds of the gospel. The seeds of grace, justice and peace. Jesus encourages us to sow these seeds generously. Even recklessly. We have no control over the rocks and weeds that might lie in the bottom of another person’s heart. It’s not for us to judge the fertility of the soil in their soul. The results are God’s business. Our responsibility is the sowing of the seed. When we can’t fathom how it could ever bear fruit in some people’s lives, we must trust that God’s unlimited imagination sees a bountiful harvest waiting to sprout there! We are called and commissioned to sow God’s Word with an open-ended expectation that what God can accomplish through our faithful sowing is far greater than anything we can imagine in our limited, critical thinking.

Jesus set the example by upending typical expectations when it comes to sowing God’s Word. He claims that by following his method, a hundredfold harvest is something achievable, instead of the unlikeliest of long shots. He invites us to be sowers of God’s love, peace and justice, exchanging our constricted judgments for open-ended expectations about what the Spirit can accomplish in even the most inhospitable souls and settings. Any other way of sowing might result in outcomes that are only a fraction of what God intends.

In this parable, in the life of Jesus, and hopefully in our discipleship, it’s not limited visions, but the highest hopes, the deepest faith and the broadest imaginations that will produce bountiful harvests for the growth of God’s Kingdom on earth.


Gracious God, I give thanks for the Word Sowers that you sent (and continually send) into the rocky, weedy, worn out fields of my life. As I look around our polarized world and see unpromising “lost causes,” re-seed my heart so that I can sow as generously as I have received. Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war, as well as the many landscapes that are currently embroiled in conflicts
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~22,000 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the year
  • For the climate crisis, as this past week saw the hottest global temperature ever recorded.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

July 11, 1656 (367 years ago): The first Quaker colonists land at Boston. Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. They advocated sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Ray Medeiros

Reverend Ray Medeiros is recently retired after serving UCC churches in Bernardston and Westminster, Massachusetts.

July 10, 2023
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