First United Methodist Church
June 11th, 2023
Rev. Lauren Hall
God Cannot Be Stopped
I’ve decided that out of all the beautiful flowers in the world, dandelions are my favorite. Now you might think that’s a little silly, especially if you are a yard activist who goes to great lengths to make sure that they are not in your yard. But I like dandelions for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that I can’t destroy a dandelion. No matter how carefully I try to pull one up, I never get the whole thing. The root stays deep in the ground, threatening to grow up and blossom again.
The second reason is that despite their bad reputation, they are pretty little flowers with their yellow strands all tucked neatly into the center. And they become even more beautiful when presented clutched in a child’s tiny little hand. No one ever gets yelled at for picking them. Who knows? Maybe God’s purpose for them is to be used and enjoyed by children.
The third reason I like dandelions is because even though no one nurtures or cares for them, whether they are ignored or attacked they still manage to bloom profusely. They demand no pampering or special attention to yield their bright blossoms; they pop up in fields, in lawns, and between cracks in the sidewalk, even in the best neighborhoods. I actually think it would be difficult to grow them in a garden because they would always sneak through the boundaries and pop their sunny yellow faces up wherever they felt like it, since Dandelions would never stay put.
I think the main reason I like Dandelions, though, is because no matter how hard we try to control them, they continue to pop into our otherwise ordered lives. As I think about a child blowing those little puffballs into the wind, dispersing dandelion seeds everywhere, I think about Jesus’ parable with seeds falling all over the place. But unlike the seed in the sower’s hands, the dandelion seems to have much more success.
In the parable, Jesus tells us that the seeds being sown can only take root and grow into a strong plant if the soil has been properly prepared. Usually, we internalize this message and recognize that it is important for us to take great care to keep our hearts open and ready to receive God’s desires for our lives. And while this is true, we also have to remember that God has already acted in our lives to prepare us to do this. In other words, our soil is already prepared, because in Christ, God completed the conditions for us to receive the Holy Spirit and thus acted in such a way that God’s love will not be stopped by birds, or thorns or rocky soil.
However if we read it through the lens of our Great Commission, we can change the focus of the story from the soil to the sower. The sower’s job is to spread the seed – which is the word of God – everywhere. As a disciple you also have this job description. Notice that the sower doesn’t carefully plant seed in the fertile soil in straight rows. He scatters it all over and some of it falls where it will grow, and some of it falls on the path, or among thorns or in rocky soil, where it will not grow. It’s probably a little disheartening for the sower to see so much of his seed wasted. But Jesus doesn’t focus on the wasted seed. His illustration moves beyond the seeds that fall in the less opportune places and points toward what happens in the fertile soil. “8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
It’s easy in today’s world to become discouraged or distracted when our efforts in ministry don’t work out exactly the way we want them to. We may avoid participating in areas of ministry because they aren’t fertile enough and only focus on ministry in areas where we will see immediate success. Perhaps it isn’t worth it to plant seeds in places where we know that they won’t grow. But that’s not how Jesus instructed us. As sowers, our job is to disperse the seed and the sower scatters seed everywhere. Jesus tells us to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations. No one is to be left out.
As sowers, it is important for us to realize that we do not do our work alone and God cannot be stopped. Some seeds may take longer to develop roots, and others may need to be transplanted at times, but we have been commissioned by Christ and the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s mission as the church. And what is that mission again? To go into the world empowered by the Holy Spirit and bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ who reveals to us the loving heart and mission of God the Father.
My prayer for each one of us is that we carry out this mission with the boldness of dandelions, remembering that simple faith has deep roots that are impossible to dislodge. I hope we remember that Christians are not fancy or pampered or even trapped in orderly rows inside churches, but that we have been sent out by Christ to shine our bright yellow faces everywhere, and that by our vast numbers we will show the world that we are evident in all places, and that God cannot be stopped. Let us pray…
By your power and authority, Lord, may your servant love become our way of life, may your grace and forgiveness inspire us to teach this desperate world hope for the future. May we become the living embodiment of your good news, in all that we say and do. May we disperse ourselves like the seeds of dandelions, going to all places and taking root where you lead us. In the midst of our fears and doubts, strengthen our hearts – for nothing in heaven or on earth can stand against your love.
Surrounding us with your constant presence, you are with us always, as you promised, from the beginning to the end, to life’s close and completion. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.