After Pentecost 8A – July 23

July 23, 2023

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

“The Seed”

Call to Worship:

One: As we harvest our growing abundance in this time of mid-summer, may we relish in the fruit of our labor,

Many: As we harvest the fruitful seeds of nature and God’s Garden, let us share in the bounty with our neighbors.

One: While we channel resources – water, light, fertile ground to the produce we desire in our gardens,

Many: May we also recognize that the weed, the rabbit, the caterpillar also has needs for sustenance.

One: We have enough, and an attitude of plentifulness increases through sharing.

Many: For what our land grows with our tending, is only ours for a moment in time, filling a short term and immediate need.

All: May we share the harvest by tithing back to nature, feeding the hungry among us, storing for the future without hoarding, and setting enough seed aside for the next season of planting. 


God of many names, mother of all creation, father of all that is, womb of life, and wellspring of all that we can ever know, we invite your presence here as we seek to embody your loving spirit and create your presence among us. We are in need and we turn to you to be with us as we practice creating the kin-dom of heaven here on earth.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life

God of creation and plenty, it can be easy for us to forget the abundant nature of your love. We forget that there are ample riches from this earth if we manage your resources you and we share generously among all your beloved children. We forget that we are all created in your divine beauty, perfect specimens of your holy vision for a people who can love without bounds, share without tallying, and celebrate among the great diversity you created to thrive together. Guide us to give of that abundance, to receive with grace and gratitude, and to turn our hearts from the perception of scarcity. We confess that we fall short; and we ask that you show us the path again to your fruitful garden where all things grow and flourish.  

Words of Grace

Let us know that God has always provided us with growth and abundance and will continue to guide us in the care of bounteous fields that spring forth with plant and animal, both weed and seed. We are all worthy of this enduring joy and sustenance as beloved children of God.

Invitation to Generosity

As recipients of the many ways in which God provides, let us share this generosity with others whose seeds have not yet taken root, whose plots need tending.

Prayer of Dedication and Thanksgiving

Leader: We dedicate these resources to doing God’s work among God’s people.

All: May these gifts plant seeds of justice for God’s children who seek it; may they remind us to love more mercifully; may all walk humbly as we learn to trod gently upon this earth. Amen.


God’s people, you are called to go forth and appreciate the weeds among us, as we have each been in the wrong place at times.

Go from this place during this harvest time and taste the ripeness of a plump tomato, the sweetness of fresh steamed corn, the crisp coolness of cucumbers.

Please go in the knowledge that there is enough for all, be it God’s earthly blessings that are so delicious and nourishing or God’s love that connects us.

Share in these gifts and know that we are all enough.


The imagery of dandelions is in the forefront of my mind. A weed that most are familiar with, that children and bees delight in, and many who want a manicured monoculture of grass abhor.

There is a contemporary movement No Mow May that asks people in the northern hemisphere to forgo mowing so as to let the dandelions bloom and feed the bees who are waking from their slumber and are in need of nectar to sustain themselves until other blossoms are available. This is causing some conflict in some neighborhoods and with HOAs, as people who like perfectly manicured monocultural lawns are irritated by unkempt yards of grass with dandelions raising their sunshine yellow heads as maturation to seed sweeps across the suburban landscape. Many people turn to poison to keep these interlopers that feed the bees and aerate the soil out of the vision of their perfect lawn.

I liken this to the many ways we poison our communities whenever anyone or anything does not meet the vision that has been laid out by individuals, committees, or entire neighborhoods. Is there room for the dandelions to grow among the grasses? Is there room for different colors of homes, different customs of peoples, different visions of what makes community among God’s people?

The parable of the weeds as explained by Jesus would indicate that there are not, yet we know that a healthy ecosystem is made of many different organisms together, finding a balance in which most can get at least some of their needs met. The bees do not starve, the dandelion does not perish as a species, the dirt does not compact into such hardpan as to sustain nothing, but only if we allow for there to be some weeds that mature to perpetuate their kind. I challenge us all to look beyond the green lawn with nary a blade of crabgrass or gray-headed puff of a dandelion orb to consider the great breadth of plant life or bug life and see if our vision has room for weeds to grow among the grass, as the landowner-farmer understood weeds to grow among the wheat. This does not mean we much tolerate or fertilize evil among our crops, but rather allow some time to let nature take its course and provide a growing medium for all that need it. Weeds are often referred to as plants in the wrong place. Perhaps evil among humans is another characteristic or behavior misplaced. Perhaps welcoming the weeds will provide a more robust ecosystem and a less monocultural body of Christ.

An excellent children’s story/story for all ages could be adapted from the book Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes by Demian Elaine Yumei, or through a wonderment of dandelions (although in July this might be harder to find depending on region) or a conversation about watermelon, with some slurping of watermelon after the service.

The Seed: Serviced Prayers for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost was written by Dr. Sherry Warren  who serves as Minister of Women’s and Gender Justice for the National Ministries of the UCC. She loves to garden and grow things.