It’s July! Time for Crepes Myrtle
The Week Ahead…
July 5 – Fith Sunday after Pentecost
July 5 – 10:00am – Join here at 9:30am for gathering – service starts at 10am Meeting ID 834 7356 6532 Password 748475
July 5 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online
July 8 – 10:00am – Ecumenical Bible Study through Zoom The meeting ID is 871 4255 8446 The Pass Code is 144832
July 12 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 12 – 10:00am – Join here at 9:30am for gathering – service starts at 10am The meeting ID is 828 9779 0306 The Pass Code is 037231
July 12 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online
July 12 – 7pm – Evening Prayer on the River Bank
Details coming this week
Regathering details from the Diocese of Virginia
In the meantime can we have outdoor services ? YES
A Port Royal 4th!
Lectionary, July 12, 2020, Pentecost 6, Proper 10, Year A – Parable of the Sower
I.Theme – How we carry out our work in the world
"The Sower" – Van Gogh, 1888
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
This week the emphasis is how we play our stories in the world.
The New Testament readings provide guidance on reacting to Jesus ministry and work with our own. It is empowered by the spirit to be about the spirit. We must be careful to seek that world – the world according to the spirit and not the flesh
Those whose lives are motivated and powered by earthly goals and passions, no matter how "good" they may be, are in opposition to God. Those who offer the Gospel to the world often seem to squander so much of their time and resources with little chance of a return but we can be assured that Jesus has invested in each one of us as his disciples. We become life giving to each other as God has been to us.
Perhaps here the sower is anyone who tells the good news. Growth represents receptivity. It could be you or me. It could be God. It could be Jesus. The sower scatters his seed generously and seems to waste so much of it on ground that holds little promise of a rich harvest. Those who offer the Gospel to the world often seem to squander so much of their time and resources with little chance of a return but we can be assured that Jesus has invested in each one of us as his disciples. He too seemingly squandered his time with all sorts of people, outcasts of all hues and yet the harvest has already been a good one. Surely a great encouragement for us all!
For Paul if we promote God’s teaching and goals as agents of God then we are acting according the spirit. If we look selfishly to our own then we are not.
Are we brave enough to step out of our comfort zones? Do we hold on rather too tightly to our resources, making sure we have something in reserve for the proverbial rainy day or should we imitate the sower in our own generosity?
The sower seems to lead to the idea that disciples are not always the chosen. It seems that these will often be the most unlikely candidates; the people that the world does not rate, the goats rather than the sheep, the tax collectors and the prostitutes rather than the respectable. These are the ones that will go ahead of the religious leaders of the day into heaven! And what of the disciples? Is there hope for them too? Time and again they are found wanting in understanding, in faith and in courage but the encouraging thing for all of us is that Jesus doesn’t give up on them. In fact, he continues to invest in them, even to the point of entrusting the future of his mission to them. The disciples will bring others to Christ.
It may take time for results to appear as Isaiah seems to say. It’s the environment that causes the sowers crop to eventually turn into bread as Isaiah says. God will make the peoples’ religious lives fruitful, as he has done for their land.
God’s presence is shown as powerful, gracious, and life-giving in the Psalm. The dangerous features of nature are pacified, and the rest of nature comes to life with joyful exuberance. God’s presence is shown as powerful, gracious, and life-giving in the psalm. The dangerous features of nature are pacified, and the rest of nature comes to life with joyful exuberance. As with the sower’s seeds, results don’t happen over night and patience is a must. As Walter Bouzard writes about the Psalm, “The motion of the psalm from quiet, expectant waiting to a summons for the creation itself to join the choir of praise suggests that the journey from expectation to exaltation is just that — a journey. Many of us, perhaps most of us, find ourselves somewhere in the middle of the journey.”
Animated version of "the Sower"
The idea of the Parable – a background to the Sower
Like any story, a parable is a window into the mind of the author. People describe only what they can imagine; and imagination depends on what a person has seen, heard or read about. In this case the agricultural image of sowing seed indicates the rural perspective of both the speaker & original audience.
The parables were a favorite teaching device of Jesus. People loved the stories that Jesus created and told. His stories were drawn from every day life, from the simplicities of every day life. Jesus did not use theological abstractions as the Apostle Paul did. By telling a story, Jesus created pictures of those abstract ideas. The abstract idea became concrete and visual.
Jesus wanted his original twelve disciples to begin thinking in the logic of parables, in the symbolism of parables, in the possibilities of the parables. Jesus wanted his first disciples to look for and find the “heavenly meanings to his earthly stories,” and Jesus wants us contemporary disciples to do the same. The writer for the Society of St. John the Evangelist wrote this week "Jesus tells parables of the Kingdom not only to describe the future, but to invite us into that future…In the Kingdom of God fear itself is cast out and love is perfected in us."
In this first parable of Jesus, he chose the most common of experiences from the everyday lives of people: “seeds, sowers, hard paths, rocky soil, thorny soil, good soil.” These were as common as scenes as possible, but in the commonness, Jesus saw illustrations about God and his kingdom. In the soil and the sower, Jesus saw signs about how God works in this world.
Here the speaker describes a process called broadcasting: taking handfuls of seed and scattering it to the wind rather than depositing it directly in prepared soil. This method of planting was widely used in primitive agriculture, particularly in hilly regions like Galilee where rocks that could destroy a cast-iron plow often lay just below the surface. Since geological pressures cause subterranean rocks to migrate upward, farmers cannot be sure from year to year just where the rocks and the fertile soil are located. Finding & removing all rocks would be inefficient & time-consuming. So each spring Mediterranean grain farmers simply scattered the relatively inexpensive seed across their fields. Of course some would be lost to the unpredictable forces of nature: birds, weeds, hard ground, lack of rainfall. But there was always enough good soil to insure a harvest. So, from time immemorial broadcasting was the normal process of planting in the eastern Mediterranean.
A farmer may therefore live several miles from his field, in which case he literally "goes forth" to it.
Van Gogh’s "Sower" – evolution of an idea
"The Sower" – Jean Francois Millet (1850)
The lectionary this week is the about the Parable of the Sower from Matthew which was a subject for 2 painters from 1850 to 1888. We want to spotlight Van Gogh’s work.
For three years Van Gogh (1853-1890) single mindedly pursued his calling to the ministry, first as a student of theology and then as a missionary to the coal miners in Belgium. Deeply moved by the poverty surrounding him, Van Gogh gave all his possessions, including most of his clothing, to the miners. Van Gogh admired Christ’s humility as a common laborer and “man of sorrows” whose life he tried to imitate. The church came to see Van Gogh suffering from excessive zeal and he did not preach well. He left the church in 1879. “I wish they would only take me as I am,” he said in a letter to Theo, his brother. He wrote, "I think it a splendid saying of Victor Hugo’s, ‘Religions pass away, but God remains’". He saw Jesus as the supreme artist By 1880, he had abandoned a religious career and turned to art helped by brother Theo. In the next 10 years, he would move 10 times, his life characterized by periods of depression and periods of a sort of mania.
The sower was inspired by Jean-François Millet’s ‘Sower’ from 1850 which was inspired by the Matthew 13. Van Gogh had tried several times to produce a serious painting on the same theme and then abandoned it. Van Gogh’s early work comprises dour portraits of Dutch peasants and depressing rural landscapes.
In 1886-88 he moved to Paris, where Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism had a big impact on his painting. He brightened his palette, experimented with shorter brushstrokes, impasto, and complementary colors.
Vincent van Gogh returned to a motif that he had tackled several times since his move to Arles, in the south of France, in 1888. The change in scenery may have provided what he needed. Arles was bathed in brilliant light and color in contrast to his earlier life in the north of Europe.
Van Gogh regarded the seasonal growth cycle of the crops – particularly that of wheat- as a metaphor for the creation of new life, growth, flowering and finally decline. As such the activity of sowing as evening falls constitutes an apposite symbol for the continuity of life.
His painting’s originality was to lie in the violent juxtaposition of bold colors, which he tried to achieve by painting the top part of the picture predominantly yellow and the lower part in complementary violet. The sower’s trousers are white to ‘allow the eye to rest and distract it from the excessive contrast between yellow and violet together’.
What is different now also is the large role that nature plays in the drama. Nature begins to overtake the people working the land as the principal actor in Van Gogh’s painting. The main drama in the painting at the top is between that huge sun in the center and the ploughed earth that fills the bottom three quarters of the picture.
Van Gogh deviated from the rest of the impressionists. Van Gogh’s sun is different from the impressionists who tried to shape suns based on optics. For Van Gogh color always fit the meaning.
Each particular in the picture gets its own unique mark of the brush. The sky in the top picture is filled with short strokes of yellow and ochre that radiate out from the sun in the center. The ploughed field in the foreground is made with short curving strokes of blue and orange . The other impressionists did it differently. Monet used the brushstroke to equalize all the elements in the field of vision that he was recording; the sky, water, trees, and people all were painted with the same general size and type of brushstrokes.
Although Van Gogh had faithfully adhered to artistic principles he so firmly believed in, he was disappointed with the result. His confidence somewhat shaken, he made various changes to the painting. He softened the contrast by mixing green into the yellow sky and orange into the field. The white of the sower’s trousers, though useful as a device to rest the eye, was nevertheless an odd color for a peasant’s working clothes, and he subsequently changed it to blue. As a final gesture, Van Gogh then painted a surround in complementary colors violet around the yellow sky and yellow around the violet field – presumably in the hope of salvaging at least part of his original idea. He radically recast his own sower after the example of Millet’s figure, moved it further from the center of the composition, and painted out the trees on the horizon to the right of the sun. It became "Sower with Setting Sun." (1888)
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4. Server Schedule June 2020
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Pentecost 2, June 14, 2020
Pentecost 3, June 21, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 3, June 21, 2020
Pentecost 4, June 28 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 4, June 28, 2020
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Saints of the Week, – July 5 – July 12, 2020
|[Eva Lee Matthews], Monastic, 1928
Jan Hus, Prophetic Witness and Martyr, 1415
|[Priscilla & Aquila], Coworkers of the Apostle Paul|
|Benedict of Nursia, Monastic, c. 540|
|Nathan SÃnderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala and Ecumenist, 1931|