On Sunday evening our family gathered around a small glass jar and mixed soil with ashes and buried wheat berries beneath the humus then doused the mixture with water and processed around the yard then through the corridors of our house singing a song about Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, preparing himself to die so that we may live. With good care and a bit of luck, the seeds will sprout by Easter Sunday morning – a visible sign of the necessary death of the seeds to bring life. This was Palm Sunday, Holy Week – a season within the season of Lent to prepare us to celebrate the life that is to come on Easter.
Planting seeds is an act of faith that continues to bring wonder and joy to our children (and even to us adults when we pause to contemplate the wonderful miracle of death transforming to life.) I see other types of seeds planted all around me during this time of year. The Texas flora and fauna are exploding with life after the deadly drought of last year. Parents of young children all around us faithfully and diligently continue to guide their children into abundant life through the hard work of discipline and humility and then watch their children blossom after seasons of temper tantrums and frustration – again and again. All of the prayers and petitions of my grandparents on my behalf throughout the years are a blanket of seeds I wear as a daily cloak. Hours spent listening to lectures and studying and writing and practicing produce new ideas and fabulous papers and sermons by the seminarians all around me here at the Seminary.
As church, where do we collectively plant seeds? For some people, we are good stewards of all of our resources – planting time and treasure and talent into our church communities. Groups of folks pool resources together and make sure children at the local school have some food to take home in their backpacks each day or that medical care is available at a church sponsored free clinic. Maybe churches even combine efforts and transform an entire city, county, state, nation, the world. But seeds are tiny and sometimes we feel our resources are tiny. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a death for us to plant ourselves into a difficult relationship, to really be with someone or to delay or forgo making a financial purchase so that we may plant our resources instead into a community initiative.
Let us not forget that with faith and time and miracle that death is transformed to life, that everything we need to live is within our grasp. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:24, New Living Translation)
Kristin Carroccino lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, kids, and a small dog that barks far too often at garbage trucks and the kids’ robotics inventions. This essay is excerpted from the blog her family kept during 2012 at boatswithoutoars.blogspot.com and the forthcoming book Boats Without Oars.