Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Enjoy the Silence: Day 1

***The other day I found a book I bought back in High School.  It’s called Enjoy the Silence: A 30 Day Experimentin Listening to God by Maggie Robbins and Duffy Robins.  It is all about lectio divina, which is literally means “divine reading”.  It’s a meditative reading method that is supposed to help read the Bible for deeper meaning.  When I saw the book I thought it might be time to actually try to go through it.  And that always works better if I feel like I am being held accountable (whether anyone reads this or not, I can always pretend).  So, here we go.***

Day 1: Luke 8:4-15

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.  Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
 When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
   “‘though seeing, they may not see;
   though hearing, they may not understand.’

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.  Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.  The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. 

I am unsure what soil describes the state of my heart right now.  I desperately want my heart to be good soil, but I think it has a tendency to be rocky or full of weeds.  Often I don’t give myself time to let the word of God to sink in.  As one friend put it, I don’t really let myself savor the presence of God.  I’m not good at that.  Also, I worry about everything.  So much anxiety.  So much angst.  I try so hard to trust God with my plans and stuff, but it is so freaking scary.  On the other hand, I have noticed me being more willing to hand things over.  Maybe God is weeding the garden of my heart.

I read it again, and noticed that all four soil types actually heard the word of God.  The difference comes in the way the word of God developed and grew in the hearers’ heart.  The word didn’t sink in at all on the path.  The word couldn’t really put down roots with the rocks in the way.  The word put down roots, but couldn’t produce fruit because of the weeds.  In the good soil the word sank deep, put down roots and grew to produce fruit.

Good soil doesn’t just happen.  It takes a lot of work.  In Buffalo we seeded a yard.  At first the ground was hard and compacted.  We went over it with rakes to break it up, and then we cleared out the rocks and weeds.  The job took for-freaking-ever, even with 18 of us working at it.  After that we sowed the seeds and went back over it with the rakes.

I think God does the same.  He softens our hard hearts.  He clears out the rocks and debris so his word can take root.  As it grows, he weeds out the distractions as we let him.  He does all this work only to have to go over our hearts again so his word really sinks in.  In the end we produce a bumper crop.  This excess of spiritual fruits overflows from us.  That overflow can affect our neighbors whose hearts God has been softening up. 

Gardening takes so much time and effort and you get so messy doing it.  I am so thankful we have a God who is not afraid of getting messy and working hard even when we actively fight against him.

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