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Bearing Fruit in the Weeds



 After an unusually long winter, what a joy it is to greet the springtime this year! We have a special sermon series, designed especially for this time of the year. Based on Jesus’ teachings about seeds (from Matthew 18), we will consider how God plants the seeds and grows the fruits of His love in our life and world. We have consulted with some of St. Stephen’s own master gardeners to learn about what it takes to grow seeds into thriving plants. It is certainly not as simple as it may appear. There are all kinds of things that can get in the way of seeds growing into flourishing plants, just as there are all kinds of things that can get in the way of our lives flourishing in God’s love. Jesus makes these connections for us, in a series of parables about seeds. Putting together Jesus’ parables, the lessons of today’s master gardeners, and our own desires to lead lives that bear good fruit for the world around us, we offer the following sermon series for May. We’re calling it “Bearing Fruit in the Weeds.”

May 4: (Children’s Sunday) “Bullfrogs and Butterflies”

St. Stephen’s children’s choirs (B Sharps and Cherubs) will present a Christian children’s musical at all three morning worship services. Based on the image of God’s creation as the place for us to grow in our love for God and one another, these services will also include Holy Communion, led by the pastors.

May 11: (Mother’s Day) “Weed and Feed” Matthew 13:1-8, 18-23

Jesus’ parable of the seeds teaches us about the importance of the soil for the viability of the seed. If the seed falls into bad soil, it will not flourish. So it is with our lives. For Mother’s Day, we will consider the way we prepare the soil so that God’s children can flourish in the life of love, hope, and faith instead of floundering in lesser kinds of soils.

May 18: “Round Up” Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds teaches us about the reality of weeds, and the dangers of destroying good plants if we try to eliminate the weeds. Jesus’ approach to the weeds is not necessarily the same approach we would take in our own gardens. Why doesn’t Jesus want to get rid of all the weeds – all the evil things in life – sooner rather than later? What does this parable teach us about how to live as good plants, even when our lives seem to be lost in the weeds?

May 25: (Memorial Day weekend) “Miracle Grow” Matthew 18:31-32

Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed tells us that God’s Kingdom is like the smallest of seeds that grows to become a large, vibrant plant, providing a safe home for many creatures. So it is with the Gospel of Jesus, begun in a humble life in a small village, but growing to become a vast movement of love and hope, reaching to every corner of the earth. How the smallest signs of God’s presence in our lives can be the occasion for us to produce an amazing outcome for His Kingdom because that is how God’s garden grows! For this Memorial Day weekend, we will also include the lighting of candles in memory of loved ones as part of the worship services.