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At St. Paul’s: “Our primary mission is to relate to, and minister to people who are living on the edge, who seek God’s will for their lives, struggling to find direction and purpose in a society that can be violent, insensitive and money-grabbing.”  

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July 24 Bulletin

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Abundant Harvest

If you have ever grown any veggies, flowers or fruits, then you know that the 

farmer must prepare the best soil possible for the best plants and best harvest. 

This is important. I know a man over in Kentucky garden who has amazing plants; 

he never steps on the soil around his plants so that it remains porous. He puts 

on coffee grounds and vegetable rinds for fertilizer. Good soil produces the best 


Path, gravel, weeds, these don’t make for good soil. The master gardener gave us 

four options, only one is the correct environment for proper plant production. 

So, let’s just say that God is the heavenly farmer. Let’s say that God is sowing 

seeds of the kingdom all the time, and they are landing where they may. What 

is happening here? There? What different kinds of soil are in the world? In our 

society? If we read the news; so many news stories are rocky soil at best.

I am not talking about stories like Germany winning another round of the World 

Cup of Soccer, or the RNC convention or the bridge exploding and coming down. I 

am talking about real news. Lebron! 

But first, here’s a big news item u might have missed behind the flashbulbs: US 

government tariffs are being imposed on international steel pipe companies, 

mostly from South Korea, who sold gas and oil well pipes at bargain prices to gas 

and oil fracturing companies which undercut US made steel pipes. These pipes 

are preferred by fracking companies who are drilling new wells all over mid-
Ohio, Penn, W Va. The Dept of Commerce is going to collect the fines. I imagine 

that these fracking companies have saved themselves millions of dollars by using 

cheap imported products. And then I bet these CEOs all gave themselves big 


So if God is sowing seeds of the kingdom here in Ohio, is it falling on good soil? 

I am bringing these news items to my sermon to prove a point, that while the 

whole world focuses on Lebron, there is a lot of dirt going on that needs our 

attention even more.

What kind of soil is this: Cheap cold-hearted capitalists who are only interested in 

padding their wallets and could care less about fellow blue collar workers who are 

laid off when steel from foreign competition undercuts US Steel industry products 

illegally. And what about the earthquakes in Ashtabula Co. and contaminated 

drinking water of millions of people. I say we fine them all and make them eat 

bread and drink bottled water from their own frack sites. Ok, so that’s a little 

harsh. Sorry. 

But I ask you, when the heavenly farmer sows the seeds around here, where will 

the seeds land? 

Let’s look at another example of news that you might have missed: Security 

breaches in your data processing, your information which corporations share 

with each other. These breaches which lead to identity theft in hundreds of 

cases, increased in the last year by 25%. Why is that? Are these corporations also 

sharing your security information, usernames and passwords, too? Well, don’t 

they send you an ad, you click on it and then there is a cookie in your computer, 

and then they can communicate with your computer, get data and you don’t even 

know it. If the heavenly sower was spreading seeds in this area, what kind of 

growing conditions would be found?

I’m sorry to keep harping on this, but the news is just full of these tidbits of 

information. While the headlines were full of Lebron, we might have missed this 

news item: our Ohio State lawmakers cut so much from the transportation, parks, 

schools, etc. budget in Cleveland and Cuyahoga Co. that we are having another 

fiscal crisis. The casino revenue cannot make up the difference. So all of these 

entities are having to lay off workers again. So a few wealthy people at the top 

of the 1 % can enjoy tax cuts, the middle class suffers. Highways and bridges and 

waterways suffer. That is what our tax money goes for.

If the master gardener’s seeds fell in this area, would they grow? I don’t think so.

Another one: Certain people are trying to de-regulate and decrease the bite 

of the Environmental Protection Agency. They want to undermine the Clean 

Water Act and allow more hazardous waste like fertilizers and hospital waste 

to flow into the Great Lakes. The EPA needs our help to protect our Great Lake 

from Cyanobacteria – which causes these huge blue green algae blooms that 

dramatically cuts the oxygen levels in the water, literally suffocating fish, water 

fowl and other creatures that rely on the lakes for survival. When the seeds from 

the master farmer fall in this environment will it sprout and bear fruit? 

But the biggest news of the week is from the Lebron James camp. The Prodigal 

son has returned. He is forgiven his past sins. Funny I thought God did that . . .

But really, Lebron is coming back to Cleveland, where he was born and raised 

and had his first successes as an athlete in his growing years. And the buzz all 

over town is how good the Cavs will be this year when he returns to the new 

line up as a leader, as a ring bearer, as a role model for the other players and 

someone who can lead the team to Championship. I am not a rabid fan. I don’t 

need my photo op with Lebron gear. I enjoy watching him. I enjoy watching a 

good game when I have the time. I have probably watched maybe 5 games in the 

last couple of years. I watched a little of the San Antonio Spurs beating the Miami 

Heat. Interesting, but I want to make a prediction. The Cavs will be better and 

Cleveland will be better because of Lebron. 

But back to the Master Farmer sowing kingdom seeds; I want to talk about the 

type of soil that God might be looking for in order to plant some healthy plants. 

And reap a rewarding and plentiful harvest. It all happens in community. Rich, 

fertile soil for the Master planter is found in the type of group Jesus gathered 

around himself when he was training disciples. Martin Luther King, Jr. called 

the Beloved Community. I guess you have heard this before from me, but I have 

a little different twist on it this year, since I have been focusing on Creating 

Communities of Peace and also have been involved in making a peace mural. Our 

community here in Ohio City and St. Paul’s is rich fertile soil.

In addition to having a more fertile growing area, I have been reading a book 

called The Abundant Community by John McKnight and Peter Block: actually the 

sub title could well be: how to make our lives more rich and satisfying using the 5 

basic tenets of abundance, as follows:

1) what we have is enough

2) We have the capacity to provide what we need in the face of the human 


3) We organize our world in a context of cooperation and satisfaction

4) We are responsible for each other

5) We live with the reality of the human condition

While I am on vacation over the next few weeks I will be doing research into these 

areas, and hopefully, I can come back with some new ideas that will help to make 

some improvements in the way we live together. 

But let me say this: We don’t always know how good we have it. We have all 

we need; we have all the gifts that God has given. We have trusting and serving 

relationships. God’s abundance is everything we need and so much more. We 

have to use it wisely to help one another thrive and live in peace. Cooperating 

with one another brings so much more satisfaction than doing it all on our own. 

We now, must build on that foundation.

Yesterday I watched as a great grandmother died in the hospital surrounded by 

all of her kids, grandkids, etc. she had lived an exemplary life of service, to her 

family, to her community, and Loretta Ethridge will rest in peace, she deserves 

the peace and quiet. She told me many times how blessed of a life she had. 

Because she shared everything she had with anyone who was in need. One time, 

I helped her rebuild the fence in her backyard. She gave me $1000. Told me to 

buy new drapes for the church. She lived knowing that she was never short of 

anything. Including love.