A Sermon for Sunday Sexagesima at the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C.

Isa 55:6–11
1Co 1:18–21, [22–25]
Mk 4:1–20

Jesus is an amazing story teller.

He seems to believe that a good story is the way to make people understand what is important in life.

 

And don’t we all like a good story?

 

Yesterday I was up in Brackendale visiting the old Dane Thor. He has this really special place up in Squamish, he is a story him self, a real character and he fills that place with artists and musicians and if walls could talk, I bet they had a lot of stories to tell!

 

Friday, I went downtown to meet a group of younger Danes and they all had stories to tell too; how they got here in the first place and how it was living far from home.

One man told me how he was so fascinated with the stories older emigrants had to tell. How they made it, sailing all the way here on boat, having no internet or phones, no money or a contract or an expat life full of connections. How that first generation of emigrants made a living accepting whatever work was offered to them…

Not knowing what the future would bring.

These stories were so fascinating to this young man; can we learn something from these people today?

 

Thursday, some of us heard another kind of story.

We watched a movie downstairs, a beautiful scenic movie, a story about Canadian artists and their life in Banff.

They went skiing on wooden old school skis and wore knitted mittens and there where no hotels or coffee shops at Lake Louise and the leading actress of the movie told us her story about how it was becoming part of this little piece of Canadian history.

 

Movies are a modern way of bringing stories to life.

And we can easily get together and talk to each other and telling stories by calling on the phone or telling each other stories on email or Facebook.

Jesus was not able to show his friends a movie and he didn’t have a cell phone to connect with other people.

 

He just practised what he preached, and he told stories.

We call these stories parables, because these stories are a little different from an anecdote and different from a movie based on a true story.

The parables of Jesus are simple short stories to illustrate a point or to give a spiritual lesson.

 

Today Jesus tells us a story about a farmer who is sowing seed. This farmer doesn’t seem to be very clever because he is sowing just about everywhere and weed, thorns and sun and bad soil ruins the crop.

So, what makes him do all this work for nothing?

This farmer has no assurance that something will come out of his efforts.

Just like when those first emigrants came here to Canada, they settled down in remote places and they worked hard, not knowing if anything would work out for them. They stumbled on rocks, they were stung by heat and sun in the summer and ice and snow must have been overwhelming in the winter; just think about how everything closed down in Vancouver here last week because of a little snow, it must have been so hard to cope a hundred years ago!

 

I am watching The story of us these days.

A series I think was made for Canada 150 to tell the story about how it all happened.

The story of Canada.

And it did not happen over night!

This show has apparently received a lot of criticism; however, it is a good story…

And a good story always gets your attention.

 

Like our story today.

No farmer would go out sowing like this.

However, the point is more than teaching us farmer’s knowledge.

What makes him do all this?

Is the farmer a naive optimist?

 

And how about our own history here? Was it optimism that that drove the first emigrants to go?

 

I think this story and our history is about more than optimism, I think this parable is about hope and good faith.

 

How the Lord has faith in us and how he provides us with new chances over and over again and how we can keep our hopes high.

Not just trying to be optimistic in life, but to lean on hope.

A lot of our plans are wasted and even when we work hard, and we study and when we really make an effort, sometimes it all fails anyway.

Having personal goals and being positive and an optimist is not always enough.

 

We need more than optimism to succeed in life, especially when life fails. Failure is like weed and thorns, to much weed in a garden takes over and smothers all optimism.

 

But hope is not easy to smother; good faith isn’t easy to choke! And that is why the Lord is sowing everywhere, he is so generous with his hope and keeps on spreading his good faith all around.

 

Jesus goes on and on telling his stories, teaching by example, he sets out and he even dies; but his death is not the end.

This story has a happy ending, he reminds us to keep this in mind.

Reminds us to keep our hopes high, not just by being optimistic; Jesus is telling us a story about more than optimism: he is teaching us a spiritual lesson about hope and good faith.

Optimism might choke over time, but hope is not easy to smother!

 

And now we have all heard it, so onward then in the name of Jesus!