This coming Sunday we have Part 2 of the Parable of the Sower. This is a parable of what happens to the good seed AFTER it has been sown on the fertile ground. Apparently, some nefarious prankster comes at night and tosses a ton of weed seeds into the field. The weeds in the parable are ones that look similar to young wheat-and are called tares. The owner of the field instructs his laborers to leave the weeds be. Let them grow up together because by pulling out the weeds, inevitably, some of the wheat would be lost. Wait until they both have grown up, and then they are easily separated.
This is what distinguishes the adult wheat from the adult tares: wheat produces heavy grain that bows the heads of the wheat plant to the earth. Tares produce lightweight seeds that cause illness when ingested by humans. This parable is a reflection of the distinction of followers of Christ: they shall be known by their love. This is how we produce fruit-we show love and forgiveness to others. This Cathedral community showed this love to me when I came here last fall. Hospitality and generosity were at every turn, both for me and for my son, Richard, who came to Albuquerque with me. I know that same warmth and acceptance is present now for my husband and older son Andrew who are now here as well.
We have another opportunity to show that same love to a new member of the Cathedral staff. I have extended a call to The Rev. Spencer Brown to serve as the Associate for Congregational Development. Fr. Brown and his spouse, Lucas, will be joining us in August. I have asked that our new associate focus on youth and young families, Christian Formation for all ages, pastoral care and creating bridges into the Albuquerque community. I have known Fr. Brown for many years. I met him before he was ordained. It was my privilege to walk with him through the process toward ordination. There are many ways I see him as a leader in the church. He has the heart of a pastor. He cares deeply about forming lasting connections between people, both inside and outside of the church. He also has a beautiful voice and an appreciation of gorgeous music. (Music that can be experienced at The Cathedral of St. John!). He believes and practices in his ministry the truth that lay people do the majority of ministry needed in a parish. He is good at recruiting and training people so that they may do the ministry they feel God is calling them to do.
His arrival ushers in an exciting time for the Cathedral. He will bring a spirit of creativity and innovation. And, he will be able to focus on areas that need to be developed. There are many seeds planted here over the years that need nurturing. I feel he is an excellent person to come alongside and help water those seeds. I am looking forward to collaborating with Fr. Brown for many years to come. I hope that you will join me in welcoming Spencer and Lucas into our congregation.