Last week I sat down with Matthew Burt to talk about our plan for Good Friday, as we were talking he mentioned the metaphor of planting seeds as an interesting way to think about Good Friday evening. That prompted me to remember a conversation I had just had with Michele Maia, who told me that she wanted to have the children from Sunday School plant seeds on the upcoming weekend. I was pleased by the coincidence, but I didn't think much of it.
Then I heard from the planning team for the Women's Retreat that Kristen Kearns was planning a contemplative activity that included planting seeds as a way of transitioning from Epiphany to Lent.
The coincidence seemed to be growing, and even though I was fighting the flu I began to take notice. When I talked about planting seeds at Staff Meeting with Fran this week I knew it was a repeat as she was simply telling me again about Kristen's idea, but the fact that it came up again kept the theme in my mind. Finally this morning (I am writing this letter on Wednesday), the following featured in Morning Prayer:
Lord God, extend our faith so that even when we fail to see the fruit of our planted seeds, we may have the assurance that every inch of soil overturned will lead to a harvest someday. Amen.
At this point I had to acknowledge that the coincidence was turning into a conspiracy. Perhaps Kristen was inspired to plant seeds at the Women's Retreat by the fact that the children did it at Sunday School, but there is no way that the prayer book could have known that. Perhaps the fact that this is all happening as we approach springtime could account for the synchronicity. But there is another explanation. God may have been trying to get my attention.
Since returning from my sabbatical I have been dealing with transitions at Transfiguration and wondering what I was meant to be doing exactly. It took a little while, but the image of planting seeds has now sunk in. The Vestry and I are working on a vision for next steps in our staffing: we are planting seeds. The men's group are working on how to gather more frequently: they are planting seeds. I have brought in clergy to help in our transition: we are planting seeds. I am proposing a project for Lent around deepening our conversation skills: asking you all to plant seeds.
On Good Friday we will remember the greatest planting of a seed that ever occurred in our faith: Jesus dying and being placed in the ground. Then we wait to see what grows.
From the UK, Matthew loved US culture from the first time he picked up a Fantastic Four Comic when he was 12.