The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word…Luke 8:11b, The Message Bible
PREFACE (A prayer for hope and comfort)
This week, the experts predict, will be the hardest week yet since the Coronavirus hit the U.S. It’s really hard not to be afraid, depressed, anxious, fearful – and it’s difficult to continue to find motivation and ways to help others when we are under advisement of quarantine and to stay home. I feel helpless – my only prayer is for all to find hope and comfort as we all witness what is to come. Oh God, hear our prayer:
May all our people find hope today,
May all our people give comfort,
May all our people embrace love
May all our people simply pray.
I don’t know when I planted this plant, but it’s with joy to see it sprout out of my flower garden this past week. Last year, I let my flower garden go. I didn’t maintain it, weed it, or clean it out. I admit it was pure laziness and I wanted to spend my time on other things. It might have been two or three years now, since I planted the seeds for this plant.
I confess, that if it wasn’t for the quarantine and stay-at-home advisement, I may have let my flower garden go again this year. Being at home has aided me to invest more fully in the place I live. When you come and go as much as I tend to do, it’s easy to take home for granted. Now that I have to be here, I find I want it to be clean and tidy, both inside and out.
I spent this past week and weekend working on my flower garden, so neglected from being ignored for so long. I raked out two years of winter debris, added new soil and new plants and flower seeds.
“What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.Matthew 13: 3-8, The Message Bible
Adding new soil and new plants, getting my fingers dirty in the soil, I begin thinking about this new season we’re in. No, not spring, but rather this unfamiliar, uncharted God Season of endless journey and Lent. The work of tending my garden reminds me how many Gospel stories and parables are about sowing, planting and harvesting. Can these stories and metaphors be useful in navigating this new season we are in?
Planting New Seeds in this God Season
In all this disruption of normal, a massive transformation of culture awaits on the other side of the pandemic upheaval. We are still being asked to stay home and self-quarantine – it could be a month, two, maybe six before we are able to slowly come back into community and begin again. Many people everywhere are asking:
Can we go back to living life as we were before the disruption?
Do we want to go back living life as we did before? Is it even possible? Certainly there are fundamental spiritual, communal, political and societal changes that we need to make?
Where and how do we even start having these conversations?
Health care being dependent upon employment is one area where I’ve heard these questions being asked. Why is health care dependent on employment? When the virus hit, the U.S. had a sharp increase in unemployment, and now we are at 13% – the highest it’s been in decades. Can our health care system be restructured in such a way that it’s not dependent on our employment?
While economics, jobs, and our health care system are front and center in the headlines these days, there are other, equally important seeds of conversation we can plant now in the early days of this new season.
We can begin planting seeds now, by asking one another such questions as:
“When we are able to be community again, what kind of people do we want to be? “
“What kind of community and society do we want to be living in?”
“What changes do I/we need to make to be that person or to live in that community?”
Moving away from the busyness of our lives, we can reclaim this time for ourselves and use the time given to listen more carefully to God’s call and what direction God is leading us.
This is not a solo journey, I’m just planting the seeds God is calling me to sow. I’m opening myself up to conversation and collaboration.
Together, let us plant seeds, let’s see where the conversation moves and takes us.
Peace, dear ones, in these troubling times.
In God’s love and grace!