Readings: Mark 4:1-34 (Jesus' Parables of the Kingdom)
In baptism we are given a new beginning—a new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit takes us, takes our life and emblazons us with God’s love; we enter the transforming waters in which the holy Spirit makes us a new creation. In her love she takes our old, sinful imperfection and forms us into a new, set apart and saved child of God. She bestows us with gifts—wisdom and understanding, council and might, knowledge and fear of the LORD, and joy in God. We come out of the waters, birthed into a new life—life as a chosen child of God, part of the body of Christ.
What we’ve been given, the formation and gifts of the Holy Spirit, are meant to be shared; They’re meant to inform what we do next;
This is a season of graduations. I’ve been reflecting on the gift of education lately. Time in school can be a very formative experience. But we never stop learning. And school is not just about memorizing dates, and facts, and periodic tables. More than the tidbits we absorb, the gift of learning is the formation we receive.
The formation we have undergone while accumulating knowledge, whether in school or elsewhere (we all learn new things everyday) is the real gift of our education and of God.
This formation with which God has blessed us, moves us forward into life to be the person, and the people we are meant to be.
That is why we learn.
Our learning is a gift of God. The reason we go to school, or Bible studies, or come to hear the word proclaimed on Sundays—is to gain new insight into life and to transform, little by little, into the people that God has created us to be.
And who are we created to be?
We are meant to be children of God, body of Christ, witnesses and proclaimers of the way of Jesus—a way that is filled with life—freedom, equity, justice—for all.
Jesus’ parables display a world of haphazard scattering of God’s message.
Jesus tells us of the sower who threw his seed everywhere. Some landed on the path, where it fed birds. Some landed in the rocks where it grew only for a time. Some landed among thorns, and finally some on rich black soil.
Jesus reminds us that his light is meant to be held up high—not hidden under basket or bed—displayed so that all can see clearly.
That’s the kind of life of sharing that we are called into as body of Christ and children of God. To realize that God’s love and the good news of Christ is meant for everyone and is scattered vicariously over road, rocks, thorns and black dirt; that the light of Christ is raised high and proud, shone for all to see; to realize that this kind of love comes in small actions, but grows mysteriously to new kingdom of life for all the world.
We all are formed in the love of God. God’s love and kingdom is brought through every one of you here today. Let us embrace the gifts that the Spirit has given us in our baptism remembering that we are made new each and every day. Most of all, let our joy in God through the love shown to us in Jesus Christ inspire our life and witness; Let us partner with Christ in scattering the love of God, and the Word of Life as we care for one another, strive for justice and peace, and grow in faith and knowledge each day.