Some seed fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.
Jesus teaches about broadcast seeding. He doesn’t need to explain the fundamentals to his agricultural audience, but maybe you could use some background.
Perhaps you can picture the scene from a classic painting: Bruegel, Tissot, Luyken, Herrad of Landsberg, Van Gogh (look for these and more!).
Seeds are scattered by hand, often by the handful. In the dry and rocky parts of Palestine where Jesus told this parable, hand broadcasting was standard. They didn’t have tractors. Even today, rough terrain and limited access to roads, equipment and fuel means most Palestinian farmers plant by hand.
While some seeds germinate lying atop the ground, most sprout when they are underground. Smaller seeds usually need minimal cover, generally twice the seeds’ diameter. Tiny broccoli seeds, for example, shouldn’t have more than a ½ inch of soil on top of them. Large lima beans, belong 1 ½ inches underground.
Lettuce, along with many herbs and flowers, germinates on top of the ground in sunlight. These are the birdseed of Jesus’ story, a gardener’s challenge in every century.
You don’t need a ruler to plant seeds. For tiny and light-loving seeds, use the “sprinkle and tickle” method, sprinkling seeds by hand and tickling the soil to lightly cover some seeds. Tickling keeps your fingers from pressing seeds or soil, compacting them in life-limiting ways.
Seeds that prefer about 1 inch of cover just need your finger up to one knuckle. Press each seed until your first knuckle is even with the ground. Among your family and friends you could match each person with the seed that corresponds with their finger length. A planting party is in the works! Invite your grandkids, niblings, or kids from your church or neighborhood to join you in a planting party in your yard or over video chat and spread seeds, not viruses.
Jesus’ story is for all of us, whether we identify with the sower or the seeds.
God, plant me in your world at the right depth for who I am today, that I may receive your blessings and grow to share them with others.
Broadcast seeding techniques, especially with kids
Broadcast seed technique and permaculture principles