St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Pentecost 6

Pentecost, 12 July 2020

Genesis 25:19-34

Isaiah 55:10-13


Romans 8:1-11

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Some of you know that I spend as much time as I can in Canada with my long time boyfriend Terry.  Under normal circumstances, I would have left for the summer the day after school let out, but these are anything but normal times.

Some of you may also know, that I love to garden.  Getting my hands dirty while moving earth around and planting tiny seeds gives me great joy and peacefulness.  So this year, since I am here and not there, I planted a garden in my yard. 

This presented itself with many challenges: too much rain, poor soil, poor sunlight, and predators.

I planned and planned and planned.  I ordered non-GMO seeds to start first inside and then in my greenhouse.  I measured and laid it all out. Finally, the day came when the rain somewhat stopped and the rototilling began.  The soil seemed good.  A bit clayish.  But it would work. 

I planted 16, 10 gallon buckets with 4 different species of local organic potato starts.  I built 2, 8 ft x 4 ft x 6 in raised beds, and filled them with organic compost, a peat moss sort of stuff and an excellent raised bed soil. The cherry tomatoes, all from Cathy’s in Satsop, were placed into the greenhouse until it was warm enough and the plants themselves were big enough to be transplanted into larger pots.


In our Gospel from Matthew today, Jesus is teaching an important lesson.  When he begins his lesson, it almost sets out like it’s going to be a bad joke:  Listen, There was this gardener who goes out to his garden.......but what he has to say is extremely important.


I was very happy with my garden.  It looked beautiful.  I planted two hills of beans, lots of spring, summer and winter squash, some cabbage, broccoli, radish, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce, peas and of course my potatoes.  This also included 8 beautiful cherry tomato plants of all different heritage tomatoes.

Well let me tell you, what a struggle.  First, there was too much rain, and not enough sunlight and the soil in the tilled section, has turned out to not be the greatest, even though I added lots of peat moss and soil conditioners.

The slug predators got to my beans before I could put down crushed oyster shells, so they had to be replanted.  My peas, well....disaster.  Neither the snap peas or the bush peas have done anything.  My first row of beets, never came up.  And the Non-GMO squash plants, well let’s just say, I’m glad I won’t be counting on them to eat.  The struggle is real.

So, I bought some squash starts, and planted them in the former beet row, after adding some of the super good raised bed soil.  At this point, they were doing great.

​The raised beds on the other hand, are flourishing. I’ve harvested radishes galore as well as spinach and lettuce.  The carrots are growing inches every day, and the beets are going to be tremendous.  

But the poor tilled garden square struggles, despite all my pampering. To prevent the deer predators from invading, I constructed a magnificent 8 foot T-Posted electric fence with fencing tape spaced every 5 inches along 3 sides of the garden.  Along the 4th, and shortest side of the garden, I spaced the fencing tape about 1 foot apart.  However, I decided not to electrify the fence, but could at a moment’s notice.

This side of the garden is also lined with the 16 buckets of potatoes. The tomatoes were ready to go out in the garden itself, and lined the tilled square portion along the low, dachshund predator proof fencing which surrounds the tilled garden. I added two purchased beefsteak tomato plants to the mix.

All was good, until the cheeky young buck decided to come at the garden through the most unprotected side, and was able to slip his sleek body through the wider openings along the potato side.  He feasted on some potatoes, some recently planted squash and my lovely tomato plants.


Back to our Gospel lesson.

Jesus uses common ordinary gardening problems to illustrate what happens to us, when we don’t get the proper spiritual roots and nutrition in our lives. 

Some of us are like the seeds that fall on the path and the birds come quick and eat them, never turning our eyes to the Lord.   Never having a chance to see and feel his great love and acceptance.  These seeds are the people who hear the word of God, but who don’t understand it, and turn away from the Lord.

“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.”

Other seeds like us are planted in soil that isn’t deep enough to give them the roots they need to continue to thrive. So they shrivel up and die. Like my peas and squash. These are the folks who are so happy to hear the good word of our Lord, but because of outside circumstances, for one reason or another, their enthusiasm and participation, only lasts a short while.  These folks are often the folks who like the happy messages, but when the work for the Lord get tough, they fade away. 

“As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 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.”

​Some seeds are planted amongst grass or weeds and cannot get enough light and strength to get past their surroundings.  These are the folks, who know better, but yet, turn away from the Lord for other things like money and power. 

“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.”

And other seeds, who were planted in good, nutritious soil and given lots of love and care, become thriving, high yielding, wondrous produce. Like my lettuce and spinach and potatoes.

These are the folks, our Lord hopes we all become and maintain.  These are the folks who give their lives to their Lord and walk in his ways.  To be honest, this is what lead me to St. Marks.  I felt as though I was surrounded by those who truly love the Lord, and who do his work.  It feeds my soul and nourishes my spirituality.

“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.”


My garden struggles on.  I know that in order to better my garden next year, I need to make significant changes.  And as I reflect upon my garden and today’s lessons, I must also think about how I can be a better Christian gardener.  How can I better sow the seeds of the Good News of Jesus Christ in my fellow human beings?  How can I be a better gardener to the souls of men? 

This is a profound challenge and a part of our Christian mission we are baptized into.  It is our duty as a child of God, to help sow the seeds of his love in others.  Some seeds will simply blow away.  Others will join with great glee, only to fade away. Those seeds who join, and know the truth, but turn away out of greed and self-glory need special prayers from those of us who have flourished in God’s love for they are the lost souls who have turned their backs on God.

From our Old Testament reading in Romans today we hear the words,  “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” 


So I ask you and leave you with this:     

“Listen! A sower went out to sow.”  How are you sowing your garden? Are you planting seeds?  Are you nourishing those around you?  Are you being nourished? 

May we all find peace and nourishment in God’s love and understanding which he has planted in each of us, this day and every day.


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