Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Johnny Appleseed; Good News Fresh From Heaven
Swedenborgian Community ^ | September 20, 2009 | Rev Nadine Cotton

Posted on 09/20/2009 3:38:44 PM PDT by DaveMSmith

Mark 4:1-9, 26-29 (New Living Translation) 1 Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2 He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

True Christian Religion #586 586. That people can only be regenerated gradually, may be illustrated by each and all things that come into existence in the natural world. A tree cannot reach its full growth in a day, but there is first growth from the seed, then from the root, and then from the shoot, which becomes the trunk, and from this go forth branches and leaves, and finally blossoms and fruit. Wheat or barley does not ripen for the harvest in a day; a house is not built in a day, nor does a person acquire their full stature in a day, still less their wisdom...

MESSAGE Johnny Appleseed

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, birthday is on September 26th. It was handy of him to have his birthday during harvest time. There are a number of places where he planted apple trees that now have Johnny Appleseed festivals in September and October. In the pioneer days of this country, John Chapman started many nurseries throughout the Midwest by planting seeds which he bought from cider mills in Pennsylvania. Because of the poor transportation and lack of supermarkets in those days, apples were a practical necessity in the early settlers’ diets.

John Chapman owned many tracts of land throughout Ohio and Indiana. He used this land to plant apple seeds, transplant seedlings and set out orchards. He sold and gave trees to the pioneer settlers.

John Chapman spread religious seeds as well as apple seeds. John Chapman became a missionary for the Swedenborgian Church. John shared his religion and his Bible with the settlers who listened to him. He would leave chapters from Swedenborg’s book with the settlers and called it “Good News Fresh From Heaven”

He became a peacemaker between the Indians and the settlers with his loving ways towards his neighbors. John Chapman, or Johnny Appleseed as he became affectionately called, died in Fort Wayne, Indiana after more than 50 years of travel. His path through the East and Midwest now has many monuments to the memory of this man who sowed the seeds of apple trees and the seeds of God’s word.

I am traveling up north next weekend and I know when I arrive there, the trees will be generating some of their fall colors. Trees are truly so remarkable and apple trees so incredibly useful. I think it is absolutely remarkable how trees grow. We planted some trees here in my yard in Florida. It is a joy to watch them grow. Some trees grow faster than others, but it usually take about 10-15 years to grow from seeds to mature tall trees that provide shade and oxygen for our planet and sometimes luscious, edible fruits. Plants are fascinating, a seed goes into the ground and with the right conditions it grows a new plant, flowers and produces fruit with a multitude of new seeds.

Growth from a tiny seed into a mature and useful plant – incredible! It always seems like magic to me and I never tire of planting seeds and watching for the miracle of growth. Growth from a tiny seed to the largest plants, it seems to occur as if by plant a seed, maybe you have prepared the ground, you might provide the water, the seed sprouts and grows without our help. It is truly a fascinating miracle every time, the miracle of growth, the miracle of life, the miracle of God.

Jesus tells us of the stages of growth after the seed of life is planted. First, there is the blade, the stem of green like the beginnings of the gathering of knowledge and truths in childhood. Then we have the head of the grain, in youth and young adulthood we sort through what we have learned and prepare ourselves to be useful in the world. Then there is the full grain, there is adulthood where we do our work. Then comes the time of harvest when all is ripened and if we have followed God’s ways, we are harvested to enter God’s kingdom. Growth is a gradual process.

TCR 586. “That people can only be regenerated gradually, may be illustrated by each and all things that come into existence in the natural world. A tree cannot reach its full growth in a day, but there is first growth from the seed, then from the root, and then from the shoot, which becomes the trunk, and from this go forth branches and leaves, and finally blossoms and fruit. Wheat or barley does not ripen for the harvest in a day; a house is not built in a day, nor does a person acquire their full stature in a day, still less their wisdom...”

God is not a bad farmer--throwing seed away in all directions—in bad places for seeds to grow. He is the Sower, who throws the seed of His Word on every person, because He knows that as long as we are on this earth, where our natural minds can still be shaped toward good and away from selfishness and evil -- there are no bad places to throw the seed. Because all of us have the freedom, the truths, and even the example and words of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ and seeds can grow if we prepare ourselves to be fertile ground.

God gives to all the peoples of the world some knowledge of heaven, God’s realm, and the ways to reach it, just as the sower scattered the seed in every part of the field with a generous hand. God does not look at the behaviors and deeds of the people and decide not to plant any seeds within their stony, hard or thorny, crowded heart. No God’s seeds are liberally planted among all of us and when we prepare the ground for God’s love to fill our hearts and minds, the growth is truly a miracle of heaven.

It is not just God’s job to sow seeds however. We have the ability to sow seeds of love and truth from God. We carry these seeds around with us; we can carry seeds of the “Good News fresh from heaven”, and we carry the seeds of God’s love and God’s loving ways. Planting these seeds on a daily basis is our job, we may never know what fruit God will create out of those planted seeds of love. There is ground to be sown all around us. Now, the ground to be sown might not look so healthy to us. Lots of weeds over here, thin rocky soil over there. Surely, we're not meant to plant in such barren spots? But that is not the way of God. God’s sowing is generous and abundant. Look at the never-ending seeds of the dandelion or the puffballs from the cottonwood tree drifting through the air. God doesn’t stop planting seeds just because the ground may look barren, unforgiving, or hard-hearted. God has given us seeds to sow. In First Corinthians, Paul says that some sow, others water but God gives the increase. God provides the harvest.

Sometimes, we get discouraged. We get judgmental. We get tired and weary from depending on our own strength, our own wisdom. We begin to see hard and thorny ground everywhere. We begin to believe it worthless, pointless to keep on sowing the seeds. We don’t see any growth. So where is the hard ground in your life? Is it the person you've known since forever who, no way, no how, is ever going to change? Is it those same people, there still in the soup kitchen line? Is it your neighbor? Is it someone in your family? Or, is it some area inside yourself where you are hardened of heart and afraid to change?

The results are not up to us. They are up to God. Like John Chapman did, we are to go out and keep planting the seeds of God’s love. We may never know what growth is taking place in us and in others. I am sure you have all heard stories like this one. H. L. Gee told this story. In the church where he worshipped there was a lonely old man, old Thomas. He had outlived all his friends and hardly anyone knew him. When Thomas died, Gee had the feeling that there would be no one to go to the funeral so he decided to go, so that there might be someone to follow the old man to his last resting-place. There was no one else and it was a cold, wet day. The funeral reached the cemetery; and at the gate there was a soldier waiting. He was an officer, but on his raincoat there were no rank badges. The soldier came to the graveside for the ceremony; when it was over he stepped forward and before the open grave swept his hand to a salute that might have been given to a king. H. L. Gee walked away with this soldier, and as they walked, the wind blew the soldier's raincoat open to reveal the shoulder badges of a general. The general said to Gee: "You will perhaps be wondering what I am doing here. Years ago Thomas was my Sunday School teacher; I was a wild lad and a sore trial to him. He never knew what he did for me, but I owe everything I am to old Thomas, and today I had to come to salute him at the end." Thomas did not know what he was doing. No teacher ever does.

It is our task to plant seeds of love, we can prepare fertile ground, we can water, but we must leave the rest to God. What an incredible thing to plant tiny seeds. What an incredible thing to plant seeds and watch orchards grow and provide nourishment for whole communities of people. What an incredible thing to plant seeds of God’s word and provide nourishment for the heart and mind. I can truly understand John Chapman’s motivation for his life work.

Let us do the work God has given us by planting seeds by caring for one another, by being present with one another, by offering forgiveness and reconciliation, and by being the feet, arms and hands of the Lord in the world. When we are filled with Christ's loving spirit, we can reach out to others in service. And we can let go of the results! The growth is not up to us! It is not up to our own human frailities and imperfections, we are just to help and love. We just never know, and may never know, how our kindness, our loving attitude and deeds, our sharing of God’s words and truths, may help prepare the ground for God’s seeds to take root, growth to happen and fruit to be harvested. But we may look back over our work years later and see how we, ourselves, have grown, how God is preparing us to bear an orchid of fruit in heaven.

The hard ground of the roadway, the stones, and the thorns, can be conquered a little at a time. God has sown the seeds and God will provide the growth. Our seeds can grow, the church’s seeds can grow. But we need to go and stand on that seashore, look to our Savior in that boat of His word, and follow God’s ways to the life of heaven. Let us continue to plant God’s loving seeds! AHO.

Dear God, we ask your help in being of use in our world, in whatever ways you guide each of us. Help us to be inspired by the life of Johnny Appleseed in our own lives. Amen.

TOPICS: Ecumenism; Other Christian; Worship
KEYWORDS: johnnyappleseed; pomologist; pomologists; pomology; swedenborgian
Today's message from the branch of our Church that focuses On spiritual development. The web link has a wonderful you tube song. I believe as freepers, we should not keep up the rhetoric with name calling and such. Mocking people is not Christian. Elevating the dialog and keeping in mind 'what would Jesus do' is the way to heal our hurts.

If you are avoiding someone over some silly or petty squabble, offer a wreath, not wrath.

1 posted on 09/20/2009 3:38:45 PM PDT by DaveMSmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: DaveMSmith

Thanks for the story and the link to Johnny Appleseed Song as featured in the old Disney movie. That was Disney when Walt still ran the company, may he RIP. Poor Walt is probably churning in his grave if he can see what has happened to his life’s work.

I’m gonna plant a tree, even if it is just for the deer.

2 posted on 09/20/2009 3:55:21 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson