By Pastor Christie John, Geneseo United Methodist Church
“They’re up! They’re up!” I run into the house and exclaim breathlessly just about every year at this time. “The beans are up!” My family smiles and nods, but doesn’t seem all that excited. After all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? A gardener sticks some seeds in the dirt, waits and few days and – ta da! – plants emerge.
Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that…there’s the research and decision making about exactly which seeds to plant and where to put them. Then there’s the tilling and digging and raking and leveling. Some seeds need to be soaked or nicked to encourage rapid germination. Some need to be planted in rows, others do better in hills, still others require some kind of support structure. Some seeds are tucked deep in the ground, others are best barely covered with soil. It’s a pretty complicated procedure and there’s a lot that can go wrong and I am still pretty new at this gardening stuff, so when a seed I planted actually begins to sprout…well, it feels quite mysterious and miraculous to me.
Jesus once told his disciples, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head” (Mark 4:26-29). It isn’t always easy sowing justice, grace and mercy into our world. There’s a lot that can go wrong and we can get discouraged when we don’t see instant results. Will our efforts make a difference? It is good to remember that the same power that mysteriously causes a tiny, hard seed to burst into a tender young plant is mysteriously at work in us and through us. And when the time is right, God can be trusted to miraculously transform even our humblest acts and words of love into new life and growth!