by Christine Sine,
On Saturday, I transplanted some of the seedlings that have grown up around my Time to Love garden. “Unless a seed fall into the ground and dies…” I reflected on when I planted it, but today I realize there is much more to the story than that.
As you can see, the garden has become extremely crowded and they have even covered up the love stones I planted to mark the path from the cross to the tomb and out into the world.
For the seedlings that have sprouted to produce their full harvest, they must be uprooted, transplanted and eventually replanted all around the garden. Maybe they will even take the love stones with them or need some new and bigger “love stones” around them. They cannot cling to the experience of crucifixion or even of resurrection and the empty tomb, they must be spread out into places where they have room to grow and the right environment in which to grow. They must also be tended with great care in that early stage until they are able to look after themselves and grow to their full glory.
So on Saturday, I didn’t transplant them into their final positions in the garden, where their tender shoots could be destroyed by frost or bitter wind. Instead, I transplanted them into pots where I can tend and watch over them for the next couple of weeks. Then I will harden them up until they are ready to go into their final spot in the garden. At the same time, I will work on the soil to make sure that it is ready so that these new plants can thrive.
As I moved some of the plants I learned some important lessons too. Some of the seedlings looked great but as I tried to transplant them I realized they had no roots and would not survive no matter where I transplanted them too. Others seemed to have little growth but had lots of roots. They will thrive even though they seemed to be weak while they huddled round the tomb. Others where so enmeshed with other seedlings that they could never be separated out. They would never grow to their full potential, and with reluctance I nipped them out to allow the stronger plant room to grow. Last but not least I realized that there are still seedlings sprouting around the tomb and my thinning out and transplanting has allowed them time to grow.
How like the process that God wants to take us through, I thought. So many lessons to learn. We are planted by the empty tomb and rejoice in its power to give us life, and we want to bask in its glory. But if we stay there, we will die and those who may be taking root more slowly will never have a chance to grow. If we do not allow ourselves to be transplanted into new and uncrowded soil, we will not thrive either and the love that marked the path for us will be covered up.
So now that Easter Sunday is over, is it time for you to get ready to be transplanted and where do you think God is wanting to transplant you to? What is the final place in the garden of this world that you think God is preparing you for and how is the Creator of the universe preparing you, and the soil into which you will be planted, for that coming time of flourishing? Last, but maybe most importantly, how will you carry the love of God with you as you are planted out in the world?
These are the questions I have been asking myself this morning. I continue to work through a time of discernment, the exciting results of which I hope to share with you in a few weeks. All I can say now is that God is preparing me for a new stage of flourishing and hopefull,y a new harvest of tasty fruit.
I encourage you, too, to take time to think about where God might want to plant you in the future and how you might still need to prepare for that place of flourishing. I think that this last year in a COVID wilderness has begun the preparation, but there is still more to do. Maybe God is just transplanting us so that we can be fully prepared for what lies ahead.
As I thought about all of this today, I was reminded of this prayer that I wrote during Lent but never used. It is definitely God’s prayer for me today. Maybe it is God’s prayer for you too.
It’s time to reboot,
Not worn out thoughts
And practices that once seemed
To form the centre of my life,
But new ones,
that alter the very fabric of my being.
This wilderness living has not been easy,
It has parched our souls
And left us gasping
For the water of life.
Yet hidden in the cracks and seeming lifeless landscape,
Are seeds of beauty
Waiting to be born.
It’s time to reboot,
To move my eyes towards the light
Of a new day
And catch the brightness of its shining.