Friday, March 18, 2011

Jesus the Gardener: And those who follow

Last night I raced the sunset to a patch of dirt behind our church's community center. I took along this year's first offerings to the soil. Forty minutes later, with light mostly faded, I sprinkled some water across the patch of onion sets I'd planted.

I rose to my feet with satisfaction, and stretched my back and relished the cool patch of mud on the right knee of my blue jeans. I planned the planting of more onions and some snow peas today. The garden season is underway.

Jesus the Gardener
Jesus told a lot of garden stories. He emphasized the importance of the soil to the seed--how it cooperates with sun and rain to work the miracle of growth and reproduction.

I daydreamed while muddying my hands. I thought of scattering more seed in this world--seeds of hope and good news and world change. I despaired at how difficult we make the spreading of God's reign. We create such tedious and cumbersome systems that we sometimes despair of trying.

I like Jesus' idea. He simply scattered seeds as a way of life. He issued "Follow me's," and moved on. He challenged men and women to take his good news wherever they lived.

And that news spread like wildfire. From house to house, town to town and nation to nation they dashed about scattering seeds of hope and life. That challenge seems so much more grand than ours today. We ask people to "believe." Jesus asked them to join a movement.

This reminds me of a friend's favorite quote. "It's a lot easier to get people to join an elephant hunt, than a mouse hunt." I can still hear him say it.

Church Gone Viral
I've planted a few kingdom seeds over time. It's exciting to start a holy fire and watch it grow. I'm not finished with such dreams. Christians are easily bored when not finding ways and places to scatter seeds.

I've mostly tended gardens others have planted--watering and reaping as time and harvest demand. There is joy in this. But I long to share the joy of planting with those with whom I minister. I want to help them get their hands and knees in the mud, and then watch to see what the soil brings.

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