Mother Earth? What about Father God?

I went to a religious service recently where this line appeared in one of the hymns:

When seed falls on good soil,
It’s born through quiet toil,
Where soil receives,
The earth conceives
The blade, the stem, the fruit, the leaves.
Good soil, O mother earth,
The womb where seed takes birth.

What sort of religious service might I have been attending? Perhaps a liberal Gaia-worshipping, PETA-supporting, crystal-wearing, new-age service? A liberal United Methodist, Episcopalian or E*CA service? Nooooo. I was so shocked I had to stop singing because I was sitting in an LCMS church with Dan the Geologist and Mr. and Mrs. Terrible Swede. It wasn’t an unorthodox church we were attending for entertainment purposes, either. It was their church. Do you see why I was shocked? And the song? It’s in Lutheran Worship - number 338, titled When Seed Falls on Good Soil.

Conveniently enough, Mr. Terrible Swede posted the lyrics to another hymn we sang which was new to me and one I would love to sing again in church.

7 Responses to “Mother Earth? What about Father God?”

  1. Jack Kilcrease Says:


    Even worse this sounds like some sort of Synergism. When we make ourselves good soil, then God can act or something like that.
    In any case, liturgy and hymn writing is in a downward spiral toward either Pietism or hippie crap. Its been in trouble ever since the 18th century. I can’t stand anything Wesleys wrote. I recently got the the Concordia recording of the 40 of Luther’s hymns and chants. Every last one of them is pedagogical in some manner.

    Litrugy is what most concerns me though. There is no such things as evangelical style and Confessional substance. You should read the “Logia” article which shows the similarities between contemporary worship and the worship of Baal and the golden calf. “Liturgy is not an adiaphoron!”

    Jack Kilcrease.

  2. Ron Olson, the Terrible Swede Says:

    Elle, that link “lyrics to another hymn” aint working.

  3. Elle Says:

    Doh! Thanks, Ron. It should be fixed now!

  4. Dan at Necessary Roughness Says:


    In all my LCMS years I don’t recall ever singing that song. I suppose this is why!

    Good catch.


  5. Orycteropus Afer Says:

    Would you be inclined to please read and comment on my alternate interpretation of the hymn?



  6. othniel Says:

    My experience this passed year as a vicar of the church has taught me many things, but one of them especially is “Don’t pick a hymn out of TLH or LW without reading ALL the stanzas THOROUGHLY first.” Synergism, Pietism, and even as you have pointed out, Gaia herself, are enough to drive a conscience into torment.

    For a refresher that’ll make you swoon with joy and say, “Why don’t they write’em like that anymore?” Check out the (in my experience) rarely seen or sung (though quite singable!)LW 329 and 330 in succession. Wowza!

  7. Ron Olson, the Terrible Swede Says:

    Vicar Othniel,

    Did you even read Pr. Aardvark’s alternate interpretation of the hymn?

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