Dear St. Luke’s Community,

Memorial Day is upon us and the Program Year for St. Luke’s is coming to a close. Over the course of this first year (nearly) I have been very impressed at the diversity of ministries here and the passion that surrounds them. I want to thank you all for the way in which you embraced our first Ministry Fair which we held in September. I’m looking forward to many more of them. The day provided me (and many others) with an opportunity to see all that goes on here at St. Luke’s in a way that is easily accessible and inviting.

Having said that, I am still aware that we are at our best when we are diligent about inviting folks to ‘Taste and See’ that life here at St. Luke’s Church can be very nourishing indeed. When we do this, however, we also have to be aware of how deeply rooted we are in the ‘success’ culture of our environment. Jesus seems to make very clear that the exercise of being faithful is about ‘doing the work’ more than it is about ‘getting the results’. Perhaps just having come of the traditional ‘Rogation’ or planting days, of the church, we’d do well to revisit some of Jesus’ parables that have to do with planting, tending and harvesting.

“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.

35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.

36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’” (John 4:34b-37)

2 Jesus began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow.

4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil.

6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.

7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.

8 Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

9 And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.

11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables;

12 in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?

14 The sower sows the word.

15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy.

17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

18 And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word,

19 but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing.

20 And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”(Mark 4:2-20)

Our work is to keep telling the story. Our work is to keep casting the seed out there. We cannot always ensure that it will take root. The fact of the matter is that no gardener makes anything grow, not really. All any gardener can do is put plants in fertile soil in places where they have the best chance of taking root, thriving and producing flowers, fruit and seed all in due season. We (God’s gardeners) cannot make anything grow faster than it will grow. We cannot make plants that love the sun grow in the shade. We cannot make the lemon tree produce oranges….you get the idea.

What we can and must do is pay attention to soil conditions, rainfall and the suitability of our garden and put the seeds of ministry in the most likely places for them to take root and grow. We can fertilize. We can weed and we can water to a certain extent. But growth itself is a matter between the plant and its very nature. Nature is God’s work the best attention we can pay is the nurture that gives the implanted word its best shot at flourishing.

Keep inviting folks to find their place in the Garden of Life. Bask in the warm sun that gives growth in due season and continue to grow well where God has planted you!

Peace and Good,

The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
508-756-1990 (Office)
508-756-8277 (Fax)

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