We often think of spring as the season of planting. When the snow melts, little green shoots begin popping out of the ground. Farmers sow their fields and suburban growers visit the garden center.
However, if wild plants could talk, many of them would tell a different story. In nature, autumn is the time when seeds are sown. The fruit of the plant matures, and whatever is not eaten by animals, falls to the ground. Other seeds are carried away by the wind or attached to animal fur for relocation. (In my neighborhood, squirrels are dashing about, digging holes everywhere in our lawn, storing food for the winter–and some of those seed nuts will emerge as plants come spring.)
At this point in autumn, the seeds appear tiny and lifeless–they seem to be “dead.” Gradually, colorful dancing leaves come to rest on them, and snow blankets them in for the winter months. They disappear from view.
Dead and buried, the seeds wait. . . And wait . . . And wait some more. . . .
If we did not know better, we might think the seeds were dead and gone forever, buried beneath the howling winds and snowy skies.
But the seeds are not dead, they are merely “gone to sleep.” Months later–many months in Minnesota!–the melting snow and warming sun will nurture these tiny, inanimate objects into life again.
Jesus used the image of planting seeds as a way to talk about spiritual principles and the kingdom of God (for example, in Matthew 13). Spreading the good news of God’s love and mercy is a lot like planting seeds. Serving others, listening with compassion, offering encouragement or comfort, building a safe and nurturing home for our children, doing our jobs in an ethical manner, praying for those who suffer, and inviting others to worship with us on Sunday are all ways we “scatter the seeds” of Christ’s kingdom of love.
At times, these spiritual seeds may appear to have no effect– but we ought not to lose heart. After all, seeds lie dormant in the winter, waiting for the warmth of springtime. Some seeds we plant now may even mature in future generations, long after we are gone. We do not really understand how or when all this sprouting of spiritual seeds happens–that is all in God’s hands.
For discussion or reflection:
- What spiritual seeds do you think God is sowing within your soul at this stage of your life?
- What spiritual seeds do you think God wants to plant in others through you today? this week? this autumn?
Until next time, Amen!