Reflections: April 22, 2021
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
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A sower went out to sow his seed. . . And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. (Luke 8:5a & 8a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The parable of the sower is a golden source of teaching about the Christian life. It can also be a little scary, so understanding it is important. Let it be said up front that Lutherans believe our salvation is secure through faith in Christ. God does not mince words: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). And "never" means never. At the same time, the parable helps us to learn about the gift of saving faith.
Saving faith holds on to the Word of Christ even in the face of what makes the path, the rock, and the thorns so dangerous. Jesus is giving us a big "heads up" here so that we would not be surprised at what we encounter throughout life. We know that the devil will try to take faith away from our hearts (Luke 8:12); we know that the time of testing tempts us to fall away (Luke 8:13); and we know that the thorns of life try to make us lose our faith through many different distractions (Luke 8:14). We know these things. We have been told these things because God loves us! He wants us in heaven. He has given us Jesus to make it happen! And as we live in faith, then we know eternal life is absolutely ours. Therefore, we prepare for what will come.
So how do we prepare? We are ready for anything when our faith abides in "the good soil," but what is this? It is the Christian heart that lives in Holy Baptism and daily repentance, confessing sin constantly, knowing our great need for Jesus, but also knowing we are forgiven. And then what? Well, our Lutheran confessions permit one more item on this list: the fruits of repentance. That is, the Christian has a heart of "good soil" that by the Holy Spirit and the Word of Christ, is always doing good works--not because we have to, but because we get to. This is why it grows and yields a hundredfold (Luke 8:8). This is Jesus' promise to work in and through you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord Jesus, Sower of the Seed, the women supported You from their own means during Your ministry of releasing creation from its bondage. Give us strength to support the work of sowing the seed of Your forgiveness in the world through our almsgiving as we embody in our lives Your mercy and charity; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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