Third Sunday
of Trinity Tide

The Cross of Christ Is the Tree of Life, Which Bears Abundant Fruit after Its Own Kind. 

The parables of our Lord convey the mysteries of the kingdom of God to those who are “able to hear it,” that is, “to his own disciples,” who are catechized to fear, love and trust in Him by faith (Mark 4:33–34). He scatters “seed on the ground,” which “sprouts and grows” unto life, even as “he sleeps and rises” (Mark 4:26–27). “On the mountain height of Israel,” He plants a young and tender twig, and it becomes “a noble cedar.” Indeed, His own cross becomes the Tree of Life, under which “every kind of bird” will dwell, and in which “birds of every sort will nest” (Ezek. 17:22–25). His cross is our resting place, even while now in mortal bodies, we “groan, being burdened” (2 Cor. 5:1–4). Yet in faith, we live for God in Christ, who for our sake “died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15). We know that, in His resurrected body, “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).


Sermon Starter

We are blessed to live in the country that we do and we thank the Lord our God for all He has done for us. One of the blessings we often take for granted is the abundance of good food that we have. Why, one only has to walk down the aisles of the mega super market to see shelves overflowing with every kind of food imaginable. Our children have never known a day where there was nothing to eat. Instead, we have the challenge of teaching them to eat right and get exercise to stay healthy.

One thing we don’t often think about is where that all the food in the stores comes from. Beyond the supermarket and the warehouse, before it is processed, every kind of food is grown by someone. That bagel you ate for breakfast this morning was made from wheat, and a farmer raised the wheat. Your bacon came from a hog farm, probably out in Iowa somewhere, but maybe from right here in Indiana, and a farmer fed and cared for that hog. Your orange juice came from an orchard, where a farmer tended to the trees and gathered the orange harvest. Where would we be without the farmers? This country is overflowing with good and wholesome food of every kind, truly a land of milk and honey, and God bless those who grow the good food for us and to the glory of God.

Jesus tells a parable in Sunday’s Gospel about a farmer. He didn’t glorify him, but presented him as a beholder of miracles. “He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.” Todays farmers use high tech planters that count the seeds and evenly spaces them as he lays them in the ground, so many seeds per inch, so many seeds per acre, in rows so many inches apart, each seed so far down in the soil. But essentially he is doing the same thing the farmer did in Bible times. He scatters seed on the ground. It’s just a lot more organized than it used to be. 

Does the farmer have to understand all the biological functions of the seed? No, he just plants it under the soil in the right conditions, and the seed grows all by itself. He cannot make it grow faster or slower, he can only select the seed, plant it, irrigate it with water, add nutrients and fertilizer. He cannot manufacture a seed.  He has to take the seed from a living plant that God has created. But the result is powerful. From one seed comes a plant that produces many seeds. The seeds produce grain, fruit, or vegetables much more valuable than the original seed he planted.