Painted by Liz Lemon Swindle (American),
Painted in 2013,
Oil on Canvas,
© Liz Lemon, Havenlight Publishing
Imagine a sower going out to sow
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
Reflection on the painting
What I like about today’s painting is that the main focus of the artist is on the actual seeds… not on the fields, not on the sower. We just see the seeds being sown out of the hand, Christ’s hand.
Christ teaches us in this parable, that the seeds represent the Word of God and the ground represents the hearts of all of us who want to hear the Word. If we want to be that fertile soil, we have to make room for the Word of God; if we don’t want to be that fertile soil and have hearts of stone, the seeds will not take root and simply be eaten by the birds, not producing any fruits. The artist painted some more subtle touches onto the canvas and explains: ‘We can be like fertile ground and prepare a place for the word of God to grow within us. I put the symbol of the fish in the sown seeds to remind us that once we find the word, we too must go forth as sowers and spread the good news of Christ.’
Like any seed that gets planted, it needs to germinate, needs to be nurtured in order for it to produce fruit. But in order for the seed to take root, it must shed its shell. It must expose itself to the richness of the soils in order to grow, to the richness of the Word. However, seeds need time to grow… the time between sowing and harvesting can be long, and we have to be patient.
The ‘seed’ is also something pure; the seed is good. There is never an issue with the seed itself. The problem comes when it falls onto the soil, and depending on what soil it finds, it will grow or not grow, or only half grow. If the seed is not producing what it's supposed to produce , it means that the soil/our heart is the issue.
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