Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. John 12:20-26
We are awaiting a neighbor's friend who is going to come and use the rototiller in the garden for us. There hasn't been a vegetable garden in this back yard in years. We are all very excited including my 88 year old mother. There is something about this time of year that makes a body ache to get out in the dirt and plant things - plants and seeds, flowers and herbs. We all need to be part of a rebirth process, a renewing of our lives, a healing of the past and opening to the future. And yet, it requires much of us. We have to die to the old ways and begin again. We have to destroy the grass and turn it under to make a garden. And we have to feed, water and balance the soil so that everything we plant has a chance to thrive.
Jesus tells his disciples that, like a seed, he must fall and die, like a grain of wheat, so that everyone might be reborn, renewed and healed. He makes a point of saying this to them, when foreigners - Greeks - have some to see Jesus. This symbolic image- grain of wheat dying for life to come again - is for them as well as for his faithful few. It is for all sorts and conditions of people, across the ages, cultures and generations. This teaching is simple and yet vast in its reach. we are all saved by the sacrifice of one, we are fed and nourished, renewed and healed by this beneficent offering for the whole world.
On this Tuesday in Holy Week, I realize that it is time to prepare. Time to prepare the garden and time to prepare my heart. It is time to get rid of the old weeds and grass, and make fertile soil of my being so that the incredible sacrifice of one can bloom within me. May we all do the work of preparation so that God might renew us and make us wholly new in this season, so that we might be fruitful and abundantly compassionate in the world.