Visio Divina - A Meditation on "The Parable of the Sower"

Matthew 13: 1-23 , Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15 

Our Creator God has gifted each of us with powers of observation. He's also gifted us with an imagination that can be used to dwell on him and his love for us. Sometimes, by looking at a piece of artwork, we can use both our powers of observation and our imagination to help us absorb facets of our favorite Bible stories and concepts about God that might otherwise remain cold facts that only reside in our head and do not make a place in our heart. 

Start by taking a few minutes to be quiet. Let your pulse settle and take a few breaths. Get comfortable. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you.  

We are currently spending time in the gospel of Matthew. Many artists have sought to put paint and ink to Jesus's parable of the sower. Here are just a few artist renderings. Use these paintings to help visualize the parable and to connect to the parable personally. 

Read all or part of the Parable of the Sower before you spend time with the artwork. Listen and think deeply about ways that God might be touching your heart through this painting. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you spend time thinking about God and his Kingdom in this exercise. 

Clicking on the picture to view the larger image will enhance your ability to enjoy the painting. 


Jean-François Millet, The Sower, 1850

The Sower is Millet's most famous theme and one he repeated several times between 1850 and 1870. For Millet, this subject expressed profound personal and religious beliefs. Millet was the artist that younger artist Vincent Van Gogh most revered. Although he never saw Millet's famous Sower - already in a Boston collection before he was born - Van Gogh admired Millet's other treatments of the theme and sought to emulate them.



Vincent Van Gogh The Sower, June 1888, Inspired by Jean-François Millet Van Gogh made several paintings after The Sower by Millet

Artist Vincent Van Gogh wanted to be a minister. Failing to find a vocation in the church, Van Gogh turned to art to express and communicate his deepest sense of the meaning of life and his faith. Van Gogh used Christ's Parable ofthe Sower as the inspiration both for this painting and more than a few others that showed fields of wheat andpeople working in the fields. The haloed sun seen in this painting is a characteristic style seen in many of his paintings. This sun represents the Divine. Van Gogh was inspired to paint the sun in this way by observing a similar effect in the in the nimbus (halo) around the head of Christ in artist Eugene Delacroix's painting Christ Asleep During the Tempest.