Many different visions from a parable

The parable of the sower is fairly well-known. The joy of parables – and indeed of all stories – is that they do not just simply tell one truth. There are layers of complexity and insight, depending on who hears them and in what context. Who we identify with in the story will change our perspective, as will our own current understanding of our lives. Sometimes the best stories seem simple at first and then become more complicated the longer we listen to them. And sometimes our understanding is not in words but in images.

Two very different  paintings of the parable of the sower illustrate the variety of ways we can hear and envision the story – first by Miki De Goodaboom a contemporary French artist, and then by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish painter in the 16th century.

Try reading the parable, and then sit with each painting for a while. What speaks to you? What new insights do you receive? What images do you have when you envision this story?



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