Matt.13:1-9, l8-23

During the early forties in Illinois, if you wanted to have a lawn, you went out and broadcast the seed. You grabbed a handful and cast it over the ground. The grass would grow. Not all of it would take, but most of it. Some would fall on hard ground, and some among weeds, but generally it grew. Our neighbor, like a figure in a Flemish painting, would stride up and down broadcasting seed. When we moved to Kansas City in l950, Dad bought a drop-spreader. The grass seed and fertilizers would fall on the ground from the bottom of the spreader in an even, geometric pattern. Dad’s spreader had steel wheels. Sometimes, the holes would corrode, the screw would get clogged, or the adjustments slip. It was kind of a midwestern Methodist spreader. It worked, did the job, no frills.

In the late l950s Dad moved to Connecticut and brought his spreader and grass seeds with him. Dad lined up all of the grass seeds in neatly labeled Mason jars on a shelf at the end of the garage. There were red fescue, tall fescue, annual rye, perennial rye, and the top of the line: Kentucky blue grass. For Dad, the Kingdom of God was a thick rich turf of Kentucky blue grass. Along with the grass seeds were various fertilizers and lime. Dad spent endless hours preparing the soil and putting down fertilizers. Inevitably, he would tire himself out and the yard would have to wait until next year to get really on schedule and in good shape.

One of the first things I did when I came back East was to buy a Scotts’ drop spreader. This was the Episcopalian model. It was classic with a good finish, slightly better made and with an extra flair. I bought a mixture of blue grass and fescue, dumped it in the spreader, and walked around the yard. Once or twice a year, I would take a bucket of seed or fertilizer and broadcast it by hand. Dad lamented the fact that I had a better lawn than his. One Saturday, over ice tea, I told him the facts of life. I said, “Dad, you have a garage full of fertilizers and grass seeds. The problem is you don’t put them on the ground. You plan and prepare and schedule, but you have got to go out and throw the seed on the ground. The stuff is doing you no good in the garage. If you have to, just go out and broadcast the seed.” My father did not take kindly to my bluntness. He raked the lawn, turned over some of the dirt, and shortly thereafter had a heart attack and died. He was a good man. I felt bad that I made him feel bad. God’s love and activity is everlasting. It will grow and continue. It is not meant to be bottled up. Share it. He’ll do the rest. Amen.