Monday, June 15, 2009

Seedy Musings on Yesterday's Gospel

Sunday's Gospel text is here .

I'm the most impatient gardener in the world. I'm the adult equivalent of a small child digging up the bean she's just planted in a styrofoam cup to see if it's growing yet.

I've been gradually filling in my vegetable garden over the past two weeks -- two weeks of unusual rain and cold. The unseasonable weather amped up my angst over the health of the seeds in the ground. At one point I envisioned them all rotting in the sodden earth...of losing the long-season cucurbits altogether, and having to replant all the beans. My home-grown tomato plants had been literally flattened by two days of heavy rain; they'd never recover, I thought sadly.

Of course none of this happened. One evening I walked down to the garden and saw a thin green rows of emerging seedlings in my "salad" section, while squash plants were pushing their way out of my hills. The moribund young tomatoes were green and upright again.

Seeds grow in their own time.

Likewise, Jesus says in the Gospel lesson, the Reign of God grows in its own way, in God's own time.

Sometimes we Christians forget what Jesus said. We become triumphalists, wanting to take society by storm and force our vision of God's reign upon it like garden-show landscapers creating an artificial back yard under glass in the dead of winter -- it may look nice for a time, but it's unnatural, unsustainable and ultimately doomed. Or we attempt to seed Christianity into unwilling others on an individual basis, like a gardener attempting to plant flowers in pure sand, then getting angry at the sand for not producing a flower garden. Or we, like me, become easily discouraged when we don't perceive what God is up to in what looks like barren soil -- including the fallow places in our own lives. We want God's Reign to be something "big" and something "now."

But that's not how God works, according to Jesus. God works slowly and quietly, like a seed in the ground or yeast in a batch of dough. Our "yes" to God, our willingness to let God use the soil of our lives as a garden patch and to keep that spot tended, is our job; God will take care of the sowing and the growing.

1 comment:

mompriest said...

yes, so true.