Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seeds of Life

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 12:20-28

I am a real seed catalog junkie and love looking at seeds and plants for our garden. I love imagining the growing crops and beauty of the green growth around me. And I like the work of gardening, digging into hard earth and making it soft and ready for the plants and seeds. And in the midst of all of this, particularly this year and this season, I am realizing that the garden and the seed are great challenging lessons for my life as I slowly recuperate from the extensive surgery I had. I had to be broken open, the clots of bone and nerve made pliable again. There is dying, breaking open, being put to the ground and a good deal of patience and care in this process. My heart and mind want to skip over the blooming late spring abundance and God wants me to stay right here, understanding the gift of death among life, and nurturing the new love and appreciation I have for the process and mystery of living.

Jesus disciples wanted to fast forward too. They wanted to be far from pain and grief and well on their way to victory. Each probably imagined it in a very different way, and each would not consider what they would be facing in the coming days. The pain and death, the burial and full body weeping, despair and agony. And yet, there is more to the story of course, there is life and life miraculous and abundant. God invites us t dwell in the unique place we find ourselves in, giving thanks for the gifts of death and loss, pain and struggle, grief and frustration, trusting that there is more to the story. We are not left here broken in the cold dirt, but being made over again, new life as we are broken apart, deep roots as we lose our tough skin and our sure defenses.

May this be a day for all of us, where ever we might find ourselves, living as tender seeds and blossoms, grateful for the signs of new life that are coming our way. May the pain and twisting we experience remind us of the love that bringing forth life from death, abundance from lack, and food for every hungry soul. May we be tender to ourselves as we experience the pains of growth and may we gratefully and lovingly embrace all those who are willing to be stretched and grown alongside us.

The Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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