There’s a certain irony in today’s readings about the rain watering the land and the seed, and all creation groaning with labor pains, and the parable of the sower and the seed. The irony is that I am way behind on regular productive work because I am laboring in the heat in my yard because everything is whining, “Mow me!” “Trim me!” “Weed me!” “Mow me!” (What, again? I just did that!)
Sisyphus had nothin’ on me.
I do not have a green thumb. Nothing flourishes under my
ministrations except, of course, stuff I don’t want to
flourish. I know many people who find working in their gardens to be
refreshing and enjoyable; they like getting their hands in the dirt.
I am not one of these people. I have a yard, not a garden. This is
hard labor, not what I’d call refreshing. And scrubbing dirt
out from under my fingernails? Ewww.
There’s another irony, in that I have written songs on these very subjects. “The Seed That Falls on Good Ground” is a setting of Psalm 65. I wrote “Parable,” which combines the familiar text from Ecclesiastes with verses from the parable in Matthew’s gospel, for my beloved pastor who was being transferred out of the area; it’s been used for funerals, graduations, and many celebrations of passage from one life into the next. I had the honor of singing it at his funeral 17 years later.
Fortunately, parables are the opposite of literal. Also fortunately, psalms are poetry, often pastoral. And, fortunately for me, a hands-on knowledge of gardening is not a prerequisite for either.