06 - The Divine Seed, Oct 13, 2019

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2 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:1

Luke 8:5 – 15

As the LORD explains to His disciples, the Seed is the “WORD of God”. The Seed, as the WORD of God, is the LORD Jesus Christ (Jn 1:1). The Seed is singular, as is the WORD of God; yet the Seed falls onto the ground as many seeds; and, from the LORD Jesus Christ, the one WORD of God, come forth many words in the form of doctrines, prayers, and many others.  Precisely this ambiguity of the “WORD of God” as both Jesus Christ Himself and the teaching of the Church reveals the mystical content of the “Seed” that the Sower sowed.

As the One LORD Jesus Christ, the Seed is like the sun that is one, yet it sends out many rays that fall indiscriminately everywhere on the earth. The rays of the sun are countless; yet, they all shine with the one light and warmth of the sun, giving light and warmth to all.

But, precisely where does the Seed fall from? Obviously, it falls from God the Father, because the Sower who sows the seed is the only-Begotten Son of the Father. But, this same Seed of God, Jesus Christ, in another place, likens Himself to the Seed that, in order to bear fruit, must be buried in the ground and die (Jn 12:24),

Listen to this hymn to the Theotokos from the Matins of last Wednesday: “A noetic (i.e., spiritual, immaterial) Light shone forth on the Cross—thy Son, O All-Pure one. Rebuking the prince of darkness, and darkening the sun, He illumined the fullness of the faithful.” Like the Seed of the Sower falling on the ground from above, like so many rays of light, the True Light shone forth from the Cross and His Light fell on the world from His death on the Cross, and so it falls indiscriminately because all of us live in the darkness of death. We are given to see that the Seed falls on us not only from above, but also from below, for the Seed is God the WORD who is from the Father above and who in His becoming flesh of the Holy Virgin comes to us also now from His Tomb, from within our death, from within us, from within our heart where we were dead in our sins and trespasses (Eph 2:1).

What nonsense is this to proclaim that God died and that He was buried? The God of the Bible is not the one of philosophy or mathematics. He was born of a Virgin and became flesh in order to die because “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:9). Out of His love, the WORD of God emptied Himself and came down from Heaven like a Seed falling to the ground, and clothed Himself in the “earth” of our flesh as far as death on the Cross. He denied Himself, He took up His Cross, and He lost His life—“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mk 15:34)—that He might find His Life in us (Mk 8:34-35).

We were made in His image and likeness, and so He was not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters, He partook of our flesh and blood. He became like us so that He could become one with us in His death on the Cross, so that through His death He might destroy the power of death and deliver us from our captivity to death (Heb 2:14-15, Ps 107:10ff.). This Mighty Act of God is the one wordless WORD of God that all the words of His Holy Church proclaim! It is the wordless word that every seed of the sower carries.

The WORD of God falls like “paschal” seeds—seeds that carry, each one, the full power and mystery of Our LORD’s Holy Pascha—onto the ground of our heart from above and from below. It falls on our soul whether it is hard or soft, whether we are believing or unbelieving, whether we love the darkness or the light.

Listen again to some words, some seeds of the Church that carry the Seed, the WORD of God, the LORD Jesus Christ: “O holy apostles of Christ, plows of the WORD, cultivate now my soul which has grown hard through the passions and  make it fertile with the Seed of repentance.” (Thurs Matins, Tone 7, Ode IX,). “O apostles of Christ, gardeners of the Savior [the Seed of God], bearing the Cross on your shoulders as a plow, and having cleared the earth made hard by the deception of idolatry, you sowed the word of faith.” (Ibid., Apostikha)

Is our heart hard? Is our heart on the wayside? Is it among the thorns and weeds? Are we choked by the cares and pleasures of this life? Are we lacking roots? The WORD of God is falling on us indiscriminately, whoever we are, whatever kind of soil we are. He is falling on us in the words of His holy apostles, the words of His holy, catholic and apostolic Church. What prevents us from receiving this WORD that is carried in the words of the Church and cleaving to it, doing it, so that the Seed of God can send forth His roots in us and begin to “work His salvation” in us, breaking up the hardness of our heart, withering up the roots of the weeds and thorns of the passions, and, with the “plow of repentance,” His Cross, the ascetical disciplines of the Church, make our heart into “good ground,” soft and ready to receive the Seed and in patience—in perseverance and resolve—bring forth fruit, bring forth the Life of Christ’s Holy Resurrection?

Because the words of the Church are the seeds of God that carry the Seed, the WORD of God, they are saturated with the Holy Spirit of God. They have divine power to put to death our death and everything in us that separates us from God. We need simply to receive them wherever we are, whatever kind of ground we are, and begin to do them as we are able, according to our strength, according to our circumstances. Receive them in love, do them in longing for God, the “Only Lover of Mankind,” do them in visceral desire for the Source of all Beauty and Goodness. Simply receive them and do them as you can. It is the LORD Jesus Christ who will begin to work His salvation in the midst of the earth, in the earth of your soul and body. It is His Holy Spirit who will begin to work in you and begin transfiguring your dying into a dying to death and fill your death with the LORD Jesus Christ Himself, God with us!

We cannot make our hearts into good and fertile ground. But, we can receive the Seed of God. We can listen to the words of the WORD. We can cleave to them, hold them tightly to our heart and refuse to let them go. This we can do, regardless of what kind of ground we are. Oh, if we want life, if we want joy, if we want God,  let us strive to be disciples of the Sower, to learn how to become gardeners of His Seed and turn our hearts into a tomb for the Savior, a tomb that receives the Seed of God down into its depths and opens onto the Garden of the crucified God’s Holy Resurrection. Amen!