"On what has now been sown, Thy blessing, Lord, bestow; The pow'r is Thine alone, To make it sprout and grow. Do Thou in grace the harvest raise, And Thou alone shalt have the praise!
"O grant that each of us, Now met before Thee here, May meet together thus, When Thou and Thine appear, And follow Thee to heav'n, our home. E'en so, Amen, Lord Jesus come!
Jesus often used stories of the soil—of seeds and fruit, planting and harvesting—to teach His lessons about the kingdom of God. In His parable of the sower, a farmer scatters seed over a path, on rocks, among thorns and in good soil, where the seed grows and bear fruit. As Jesus explains to His disciples, the seed is the Word of God, and the soil represents those who hear the Word.
Whenever we gather for worship, the seed of the Word is scattered among us as we hear the Scripture lessons and listen to the Word as it is taught in the sermon. The seed may be scattered out of hymns that celebrate the story of our salvation. We hear the words of our Lord in His holy Supper. We are the soil on which the seeds fall.
Our hymn is a prayer, asking God to bless the seed of the Word that was planted in worship, a prayer that He might graciously "make it sprout and grow" and raise a harvest to eternal life. As the apostle Paul explains, different individuals—for example, pastors and teachers—will plant and nurture the seed, but it is "only God who gives the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:7b). In the soil of hearts made receptive by the Holy Spirit, the seed of the Word thrives and bears fruit.
All of this seed-scattering, planting, and growth happens because one single Seed, a grain of wheat, fell to earth and died so that it might bear fruit. This is how Jesus spoke of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead as the first-fruits of the harvest of life and resurrection to come (see John 12:23-24; 1 Corinthians 15:23).
As soil made receptive by the power of the Spirit, we have been born again, "not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23b). Rooted deeply in Christ Jesus, we grow and thrive. Joined to our true Vine, we bear the fruit of love and service that brings glory to God.
In our hymn we pray that all who received the seed of the Word in our worship will meet together again at the final harvest, when Jesus returns to gather us to Himself. Until that day we pray that the Lord of the harvest will continue to send His workers—such as pastors, teachers, and missionaries—into the ripening fields. Come, Lord Jesus!
THE PRAYER: Lord of the harvest, bless the teaching and hearing of Your Word. By the power of Your Spirit, cause the seed of the Word to bear in our lives the fruit of love and service. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "On What Has Now Been Sown," which is found on page 921 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. How is it that God's Word grows in our hearts? How does that happen?
2. In what ways is God's Word sown or placed into your life?
3. Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible? Which one is it and why?
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