Waranga Uniting Churches

Sown in hope.

By on July 17, 2018

It was a dry autumn and while the rainfall in June was nearer to the seasonal average, most farmers would like to have seen some more good rain.  Across the State rainfall was 39.2% below the autumn average; it was the lowest autumn rainfall since 2008 and much drier than autumn 2017.

When the “autumn break” had not arrived by Anzac Day some farmers started dry sowing their crops in the hope for some May rain. Dry sowing, or seeding, is a means of getting crops sown on time in seasons with a delayed break. With the current high cost of crop seeds, dry sowing is certainly an act of hope but it gets the crop in the ground and allows it to utilise the warm ground moisture if, and when it does rain.

dry-sowing-wheatFinally, in mid-May the weather turned and we got a good drop of rain. June rainfall was generally close to average. And now it’s a waiting and hoping game. This season does not look like it will have a lot of rain but, if it can only come at the right time, it may be enough.

It all seemed a lot simpler when Jesus talked about it. There is a very brief parable that Mark records which goes like this: “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

These days farmers are a lot more active. They spray out the weeds, spread (urea) fertilizer periodically and often having a agronomist inspect the growing crop. And yet the miracle of how the seed grows and develops is something that is ultimately beyond our control. We do what we can and we hope.

The metaphor of “sowing a seed” is widely used when we talk about things which we have little control over but often have a big emotional investment in. As parents our job is to plant and nurture seeds of character, skill and aspiration in our children. When our children quote something we said years ago, we cringe a bit at the reminder of how much influence a parent has, for good and for bad. As with  the farmer, the parable of the seed reminds us that it’s not all up to us; “the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how”.

Some parents are too controlling and want to tell the seed exactly what kind of plant to become. Some parents are too lax and don’t help create good conditions for the seeds to grow while other parents are like the sower in the parable, they sow and wait and hope.

Many of you, like me, can probably remember planting seeds with young children, thinking we are teaching them how to be gardeners, but the only thing they lean is that seeds don’t grow when chubby, little hands dig them up every day to see how they’re doing. A good parent, like the person scattering seed in the parable, knows better than to uproot a seed before its time. The sowing is our responsibility but the growth is up to forces beyond our control.

Paul the Apostle describes the growth of the church in Corinth in a similar way: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

May you be patient with all the seeds of the kingdom growing in your life.

Brian Spencer, Minister

Love like a breaching whale

By on July 6, 2018

I’ve had a few days away on the north coast of NSW near Tweed Heads and have spent some time whale spotting. Australia’s east coast is a migration path for humpback whales as they make their way from Antarctica to the

Different Strokes for Different Folks

By on June 16, 2018

Four farmers called in to our cellar door the other day. Well more like two farmers and their wives, if that is not too sexist. I’m sure the wives worked on the farm too, but I didn’t get the feeling

A Road Less Travelled

By on June 3, 2018

Every now and again my curiosity gets the better of me. Where does that side road go to?  There are a lot of roads in the district that I’ve never travelled down, but I tend to be always running to

Doona Wars

By on May 24, 2018

I blame myself. I should have stopped it earlier. Nipped it in the bud before it came to this. But it was summer and it didn’t seem to matter. We were free and easy. But now, with overnight temperatures falling

Why Crows don’t end up as Roadkill

By on May 15, 2018

I see a lot of roadkill on our country roads. Kangaroos, rabbits, sometimes a sheep, cockatoos, galahs and magpies, but I never seem to see a crow dead in the road. I’ve become increasingly interested in why is it that

The memory of place

By on May 3, 2018

Memory makes us. If we couldn’t recall the who, what, where, and when of our everyday lives, we wouldn’t be able to function. We mull over ideas in the present with our short-term memory, while we store past events and

The lies I tell myself

By on April 26, 2018

There wasn’t much rain through this last Summer, indeed it’s been one of the driest of Summers, but it doesn’t take much for annual weeds and prickles to take their chance to grow. As a gardener and farmer I hate

This fish can’t climb

By on April 15, 2018

The ABC has recently been running a series called ‘Employable Me’ on TV. It’s a show about helping people with disabling neurological conditions like Autism or Tourette’s Syndrome to find employment.  It’s an uplifting, warm and insightful series which draws

table-restored

Restored and renewed

By on April 10, 2018

A while ago I wrote of an old table that I had been given by one of my church members, who I’ll call Jim, when it was left over following the clearing sale at their property. (See The Memory in