Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dying in the Dirt

"Truly I tell you, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it will only be a seed. If it dies, it will give much grain." John 12:24

I was out in the back yard early this morning, looking over the seeds we had planted on Sunday. It is a little cold this morning for gardening, but I had the need to be out in it, at least for a while. Out digging in the dirt, finding what it means to die and live again. This time of year I am driven to the garden and I have an ache for working in the earth, turning it over, laying seeds deep within. It is very physical and very spiritual for me, an overwhelming force that seems especially appropriate for Holy Week. I am not a great gardener, barely a good one, but my body and soul need to plant and tend, no matter the result.

Jesus is in Jerusalem trying to explain what must happen to him. The people have various opinions about his ministry but many are captivated and challenged all at once. They want a winning movement and talk of dying is too depressing for some who have been bearing large burdens for too many years. Some trusted him because they had seem him healing and heard his teaching. Others were too afraid. Times were tough and folks were reluctant to trust anyone. None could have anticipated the drama that unfolded in the following days. Jesus' invitation to dying was an invitation to trust God, even in the midst of death. Jesus invites us today to be shoved in to the dirt, watered and broken open, so that we may thrive. For some that is more than they can grasp, and they are reluctant to follow. But I know, throughout my life, it is those times when I was willing to die - to give up my idea about my life - that real living began. When I was willing to be broken open, well then, I could be made new. It never gets any easier but still the invitation is there.

Today, I want to offer my life - all my rigid ideas and my ways of being and controlling - to Jesus. I want to answer Jesus' invitation to fall to the ground, be broken open and made new. In this Holy Week, I know that there is much that I have clung to that is keeping growth and new life at bay. I want to let it go, die to it, and ask God to plant me anew. I invite you, as we move through this most holy and powerful time in the church year, to be willing to be planted again, so that we might live in God. New creatures for a new age. God is bringing our redemption and healing. We need but ask. God is watering, warming and breaking us open so that we might live. May we all have the courage to open ourselves to dying so that we might truly live.

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