Friday, March 07, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Seasons come and go, and this one can’t leave too soon. We are winter weary. But we also know spring will come.
Green shoots will appear. Crocus and tulips will push through the cold soil. Trees will bud with life that was always there, waiting … until conditions were right for life to burst forth from winter’s prison.
I always loved spring in Nebraska. Farmers planted wheat in the fall. It would sprout several inches tall. Then it went dormant and lost its color as and the days grew short, cold and dark. It slept through the bitter winds of winter.
But there always came a day in early spring when I would be driving along a country road. The sun was regaining its power, and the glint of its rays would catch the broad expanse of surrounding fields just so, and I would see it—the greening of life, a shade translucent and electric like almost nothing else in nature, wheat coming to life to feed the world.
The seeds of life were there all along ready to break loose even though the incessant prairie wind that cut to the bone and made us doubt spring could ever come.
This is the way it is with us, too, with the seed of Christ in our lives.
The Christ seed of God’s gracious life is always there, present and full of promise--in us--waiting to break out and blossom when conditions are right.
Do not think of this is narrow religious terms. The Christ seed is the seed of grace and beauty, of justice and compassion. When it sprouts and grows it stirs the desire to a more whole beautiful person. It stirs action that creates a better world, a more just nation and the hunger for God’s will to be done on earth.
The seed grows not just in religious or spiritual people, nor only in Christians but in Muslims, Jews Sikhs and agnostics and atheists.
And we see its growth. We see it in a million places far outside the stain-glass windows of our sanctuaries.
It grows in the medical staff and researchers who seek cures for life threatening conditions, in teachers who nurture students into the fullness of what they can become, in the business owner who carefully serves and protects her clients, in the scout leader who nurtures young lives toward honor and respect, in volunteers of all stripes who help pick up the pieces and put lives back together in troubled places.
And we most certainly see and feel it in friends who help and pray and lift us when we fall behind.
We see the Christ seed growing in all who seek the common good, who resist the powers of death and hatred that destroy the goodness and beauty on this earth.
And what is this to us, who follow Christ, in this season of Lent?
We must learn to look tenderly at our lives--and take seriously presence of the Christ seed planted in us.
The central purpose of our lives is to nurture the growth of this seed so the wonder of Christ’s life in us may grow into that great tree in Jesus parable, a tree that gives home and shade to others.
We work the leaven of his life into us so that our lives become bread that feeds those whose lives we touch in one way or another.
We all know people who, by their simple presence, make us more alive, more joyful and stronger because of the life-giving energy that flows from them.
Each of these souls is a testament to the seed of Christ’ gracious life and power in human beings. Somehow, the Christ seed in them grew, and they became a source of life and beauty for us and others.
They are like the Nebraska wheat in springtime, translucent and green, brimming with life and promise, freshening the earth and our souls with hope and joy.
This is what the Holy One seeks to do in you and in all creation.
The Christ seed is always there, always the same, present and powerful, full of promise amid the changes and challenges of every season of our lives.
And this is we pray and sing. It is why we light our candles and listen to our souls in this season. It is the reason we do acts of love and look beyond our needs to those of the homeless and the starving next door or on the other aide of the world.
These things nurture the seed. They work the leaven of Christ deeper into our lives and into the life of the world, freshening our souls that we, too, may be the breath of God’s eternal springtime in the coldness of our world.