The Sower

The Sower assumes that "apparently the locals know all about it!", in the sense that the parable of Jesus touched very closely on things that had actually happened in their locality. Jesus was relating to the collective memory of a farming community. But, in a more important sense, the locals don't know all about it! And Thomas and Philip are worried because they as disciples of Jesus don't understand it either! For presentation, it would be helpful to have two microphones -one for the Reader and another for Philip and Thomas.
Reader:Matthew 13.1-9.
PHILIP:Great story, Thomas!
THOMAS:Jesus tells fantastic stories, Philip!
PHILIP:Apparently the locals know all about it!
THOMAS:What do you mean?
PHILIP:One of them always has trouble with the pathway - has a pathway on two sides of one of his paddocks - can't avoid some seed spilling over there. The hungry crows are just waiting there for a feed!
THOMAS:He must be lucky! The birds can be quite a problem anyway!
PHILIP:And one of the other farmers around here just hasn't cleared his ground properly.
THOMAS:I heard that too! Someone said he must have rocks in his head, and if he cleared he'd have a good fence.
PHILIP:Not long back one of the locals sent his sons out to do the sowing. The lazy fellows didn't clear away all the thorn bushes but - out went all the seed!
THOMAS:I like Jesus' stories, Philip, but why does he tell them?
PHILIP:I've wondered that too, Thomas. It's so different from when He's talking about the Kingdom of God or about prayer or something else...
THOMAS:Is there any clue in the Scriptures?
PHILIP:Nathanael was saying something about what God expects of his people - about Israel as the vineyard of the Lord, I think.
THOMAS:But this story is about wheat, not grapes! Why don't we ask Jesus?
Reader:Matthew 13.10-17.
PHILIP:So the parables, these stories Jesus tells, are a kind of illustration of the truth for people who cannot bear it yet.
THOMAS:That seems to be it. Tell them directly and they won't understand. But tell them a story and they'll remember the story.
PHILIP:Then later, when they are ready, it will all come back to them and be clear to them.
THOMAS:One problem, Philip.
PHILIP:What's that, Thomas?
THOMAS:Jesus said the secrets of the Kingdom are given to us, that we understand them.
PHILIP:He did say that, didn't he?
THOMAS:Well... I got the story, like the crowd... but... what does it mean?
PHILIP:Listen... I think Jesus might tell us.
Reader:Matthew 13.18-23.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, (c) Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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