God’s broadcast

By Rev Elizabeth Raine

To assist you in this worship, you may wish to light a candle, and gather some symbols that might help you to worship, reflect and pray. As well as a green cloth for the current church season, something that inspires your imagination, a cross or an icon, you may also like to include a potted plant, or flowers or some seeds to help you reflect on today’s theme. A pen and paper will be useful if you want to complete the reflective exercise.

Opening Prayer

(adapted from Spill the Beans Iss.35)

God our Maker, source of all that is in this vast universe,
Though we are as small and insignificant,
you still love us, and care about our good.
You have entrusted us to take care of our small blue planet;
for the miniscule moment of time that we are here,
and yet, we have failed to do this.
We thought we could improve the earth by making it more efficient,
By taking and using all that we wanted,
getting rid of everything that stood in our way.
Forgive us, we pray, for the dwindling forests,
for the destruction of habitat, for the silence where bees once buzzed,
for depleted soil and for missing wetlands.
Teach us to be less wasteful in our sharing of the earth’s resources,
and in our giving of ourselves.
Never mind if some of what we sow is lost, or grows only for a while.
Never mind if birds and beasties take their share.
Never mind if some of the seeds we sow,
will be for future generations to harvest.
God of seedtime and harvest, of summer growth and winter rest:
help us to do our part in broadcasting the seeds
of your love and goodness throughout this good Earth,
for the blessing of all, and to the glory of your name.

Matthew 13:1-23 (NIV) The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Reflecting on the Word: God’s broadcast: a retelling of the Parable of the Sower

The method of sowing outlined in the parable is ‘broadcasting’: a term that was adopted in the early days of radio and television to describe the transmission of

sounds and images over invisible airwaves. The internet has added a vast range of new ways in which information—and misinformation—can be disseminated instantly throughout the world. The following retelling of this parable from Spill the Beans is designed to help us reflect on what message God is broadcasting to the world. Each group of people is meant to represent one of the soils in the parable.

God’s broadcast to the world: “I love you!”

People heard, but many did not understand. “What is love? What does it look like?

Who will help us understand?”

No one would help them understand and so they forgot God’s message.

God’s broadcast to the world: “I love you!”

People heard. Some were helped in their understanding.

“Love? Now I see it—patient, kind and good! Where can we go to see more of it?”

But no one invited them into community where they could belong and put down roots and so they forgot God’s message.

God’s broadcast to the world: “I love you!”

People heard. Some were helped in their understanding and invited into community

where they began to feel they belonged and could put down roots.

But no one listened to their deep questions about security and worth.

“How can we trust in love and community when the world promises safety in wealth

and soothes our anxieties with possessions?” And so they forgot God’s message.

God’s broadcast to the world: “I love you!”

People heard. Some were helped in their understanding and invited into community

where they began to feel they belonged and could put down roots.

Their deep questions about security and worth were listened to and they found courage to trust in love and community even when the world promised safety in wealth and soothed anxieties with possessions. But no one asked much of their time and their talents and there was no fruit from the seeds God had planted within them.

Reflecting on the passage: what can we learn from this story?

Which plot of soil do you think each group of people were identified with? Why did they have trouble understanding God’s love?

How in what ways does God help us sow the seeds of his love in our churches,  community and the world? How do we ‘broadcast’ his message amidst the noise of


Think about who and what has helped you to understand who God is and what God is like. How might you become that person for another to understand?

Most of us are rooted in a community of faith, where we know we belong. How might we help others feel that they could belong and find security and worth in God?

Think about what you value and how you show the fruits of love in your life.

What can you do to get alongside others and help them in their understanding of God and love?

Prayer for ourselves and others

(adapted from Spill the Beans, Iss.35)

God of generous grace and profligate love,
we give thanks for all the good gifts you have showered upon us:
in creation, in each other, and especially in Jesus,
whose stories help us to see the world differently;
whose life was the living embodiment of your love;
whose death was a seed which is bearing harvest still.
We pray for farmers, who work night and day,
to bring produce from the land,
those in poor lands who struggle to survive;
those in rich places who feel isolated and lonely,
and whose future is also insecure.
God who scatters love as generously on your world
as the farmer scattered seed on the land,
we give thanks for all that enabled us to grow and thrive.
We pray for children who are victims o war, abuse and slavery,
and for parents who were desperate and impoverished.
God of love, make up every deficit of love, we pray,
and enable us to be sowers of love in this field.
In an age when not just good seeds are scattered and broadcast,
we give thanks for honest news and the good research.

We pray for young people
concerned already about the future of the planet,
who are wondering what sort of life lies ahead for them and their children;
and for older people, forced to question all that they thought was secure.
May we find our security and our hope in you,
whose love is in all, and for all, and available always in plentiful supply.


(adapted from Spill the Beans, Iss.35)

Go and sow seeds of love,
scattering and spreading them
through our churches and communities.
For the Word of God is for the world;
and the Word of God is the song of love for all.
And may God greatly bless you; may Christ Jesus reveal the fullness of God to you;
and may the Holy Spirit fill you with love and peace. Amen.

Photo of Rev Elizabeth Raine

Written by Rev Elizabeth Raine

Elizabeth is minister at Tuggeranong Uniting, beginning her ministry here in December 2018. 

Over the years, she has had a number of diverse and interesting placements, such as a school chaplaincy, a tenancy worker with UnitingCare, a congregational minister, a lecturer at UTC, a Presbytery minister, and as an Intentional Interim minister. 

More from Rev Elizabeth Raine