1 Corinthians 15:36b-38
A seed must die before it can sprout from the ground. 37 Wheat seeds and all other seeds look different from the sprouts that come up. 38 This is because God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have.
Seeds of Summer
When I was first asked if I could help cover some of the Sundays for Rev Chris’s sabbatical, I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive. I haven’t really been ‘in’ church much for over two years, at least not in person. Being “In person” was, quite honestly, beyond my comfort level… and I’m not about to apologize for that.
Nor should you if you are or were in the same boat.
But I knew and I felt that I wanted and needed to do this. I needed to be here, in person … with you..
So, once I said yes, I decided I would work ahead and get things planned and have things ready far enough in advance that I wasn’t up all night the night before the service writing and rewriting and rethinking the plan.
And I think I started off really well. I got help from Alison and Monica and we got the bulletins all pulled together, and the hymns confirmed, and I had the theme for each Sunday figured out and ….I even started putting the sermons together.
I thought I was pretty much set.
I was starting to feel pretty good! I had things under control.
And then, this past week happened.
Actually, Friday happened.
We lost internet – nation-wide. … How does that even happen???? Seriously. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN???
We instantly went from an almost cashless society to an almost no access-to-our-own-money-society. Debit machines and ATM’s didn’t work. Going to the bank in person didn’t necessarily help because in some cases they couldn’t connect to the system that gave you access to your own money.
For many people, phones didn’t work.
If you didn’t have cash and didn’t go to the right gas station, you couldn’t put gas in your car.
For many people, it was no longer just inconvenient. And it was way beyond being funny.
And admittedly, there was a moment of frustration when I wanted something… WANTED …not NEEDED, …. I wanted it and couldn’t just go and get it.
Because 24 hours before that, I could.
But in that moment … on Friday …I couldn’t. In that moment, I was not in control.
I didn’t like that …I didn’t like that feeling …no, Teresa, you are not in charge.
At first, I was NOT happy about that …
But then … in another way, … as I ‘sat’ with it’ …realizing – what choice did I have …. it was almost reassuring.
No ….. I’m not in charge. It gave me the perfect opportunity to stop …. And to listen. And to realize I had to change the plan.
Two days ago, nationwide, we were without Internet.
And here we are today.
We lived through it.
Was it a cyber attack?
I have no idea. I’m not sure I even want to know…which is maybe not a good thing, in some ways, because my ‘day’ job is at a company whose sole focus – their reason for being – is cyber security.
But being disconnected on Friday gave me permission to stop.
It gave me permission to listen. To reflect.
It gave me permission to pay closer attention to what … and who … is around me.
It gave me reason to rethink ‘today’.
No internet …. But
- bombs were not dropping on us.
- there was no advancement of armed soldiers taking over our streets.
We were inconvenienced.
It may have been painful for some.
But the bottom line …. For me …???? …..We were inconvenienced.
I was allowed – in one way – to be disconnected.
And at the same time, I was given permission to connect in a more meaningful way.
And that is what I want us to do this morning.
I want us to stop.
I want us to listen …
I want us to listen as “Summer Speaks” ….. a reflection I am sharing with you from Joyce Rupp, author of “The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons: The Circle of Life”
Before I begin, take a moment … take a deep breath … close your eyes if that helps …. Breathe deep …. Breathe slow …. And listen as Summer speaks ….
Here I am surrounded by trees filled with fruit, gardens filling up with ripening vegetables, flower beds in the prime of their life. This is my gift to those who embrace my warm, nurturing breath. I observe people basking in the radiant sunshine. They are enjoying a leisurely mood I have provided for them. As I become aware of their summer playfulness, I am content. I glory in the quality of life that has emerged from the abundance of my sun-saturated season. I have passion for growth.
It has been a joy to watch you grow, also. From the moment you were conceived to the present moment, your life has been changing. Cycle upon cycle of growth has passed through your days, so much life, so much stuff. The cycle goes on. I long for you to embrace each new growing season. I want you to experience the passion of abundant life. Between the rising in the setting sun you live the seasons of your life.
Be attentive to my fruitfulness. Listen to my growing and continue to reflect on your own potential for growth. There is a fruitfulness about your life that you’ve not fully discovered. Implant your roots deep into your hearts good soil where a treasure of nourishment waits for you. The roots of all that grows and thrives in my season have gone down deep searching for streams of water to assist their growth. You must do the same if you were to ripen and mature. Reach for that which will help you develop into a mature summer person with purpose and strength.
Reflect on your roots. They keep you grounded. Give them an image and called them by name: hope, faith, patience, joy, enthusiasm, gratitude, determination, endurance. Add others to this list. Envision these roots spreading through your good soil, enabling your summer-like growth.
Believe in your root system. You have growing power in you. Enjoy the process. Let the roots of your growth reach out to the world on lovely greening tendrils. Play a little each day in the fields of your life. Enter into the abundance of the summer within you and around you. Be attentive. Use your five senses to help you live fully.
In her book, Joyce invites us to ponder these questions and live slowly into the answers:
- How would you describe the fruitfulness of your life?
- Who or what is a source of growth for you?
- In this season of abundance what is ripening in you?
- As you sit in the lap of summer, is there any piece of growing that needs your attention?
- What are the names you would give to your central root system?
- Hope?, faith?, patience? Gratitude?, determination?, endurance?
Each one of us has been gifted with seeds …. Seeds that become roots ….they were there before we were born.
They might be seeds of faith …. Seeds of education ….. seeds of love … hope…compassion …
We don’t know what they will look like when they grow up,
Much like we don’t know what our children will look like when they grow up.
But we don’t need to know.
Our task … our gift … being the hands and feet of Christ … our calling is to plant seeds, sometimes unknowingly, as we walk through life.
Don’t ever underestimate the importance or value of the seeds you have been given.
That act of kindness.
That shared meal.
That phone call.
Don’t ever stop throwing and planting those seeds.
And they multiply!