Thought for Sunday 12 July

From Rev Peter Thomas

What’s in a name?
Sunday’s Gospel reading is the Parable of the Sower. There are few more familiar passages. Jesus used parables not only because they were a way to get his message across but also because they were entertaining and memorable.
However Jesus did not give his parables titles, they are a conventional shorthand invented by preachers and others, but the familiar titles colour our thinking (and sometimes send us off in the wrong direction!).
I once asked a group of school children their favourite parable They were equally  divided between the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. I then asked what Prodigal meant – there were a number of speculations, no accurate answers came; I asked what/who a Samaritan was – again no accurate response. I suggested that maybe the former should be called “the story of the Forgiving Father” and the latter “who should I help?” – they agreed that both were more helpful than the traditional titles.
When it comes to the, so-called, Parable of the Sower we must realise its not about the Sower, or the Seed, or the Harvest. The focus is on the Soil. The question is not about Sowing techniques but about the nature of the ground on which it lands. So it is not about challenging you to be a good Sower, or to be experts in understanding the Seed (identified by Luke as the Word of God), but asking you the question – what sort of Soil are you? How receptive are you?