Sunday, April 17, 2011

The lonely seed

Hmm.  The theme today seems to be seeds.  Our contemplative worship group is meeting tonight, and as part of the service we'll be inviting people to think about what is looking to bloom in them.  And then this morning I read this wonderful piece in Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak:

"Autumn is a season of great beauty, but it is also a season of decline...Faced with this inevitable winter, what does nature do in autumn?  It scatters the seeds that will bring new growth in the spring -- and scatters them with amazing abandon... I explore autumn's paradox of dying and seeding, I feel the power of metaphor.  In the autumnal events of my own experience, I am easily fixated on surface appearances -- on the decline of meaning, the decay of relationships, the death of a work  And yet if I look more deeply, I may see the myriad possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come... how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know.

...In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites.  They are held together in the paradox of hidden wholeness...a mysterious unity at the heart of reality.

But in a culture that prefers the ease of either-or thinking to the complexities of paradox, we have a hard time holding opposites together.  We want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter...When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off."

Reading that, and then looking at this image which somehow evolved over the course of last night and this morning, I see that there is a seed at the top that looks lonely and isolated and dark.  But just below the surface all kinds of light and life are bubbling up, even focused on the seed, ready to use it as a vehicle to spring forth from the darkness.

And somehow I also see in that lonely seed Jesus on his donkey, heading into Jerusalem, hearing all the noise and color and jubilation and yet knowing that for all of that to bear fruit the husk will need to be broken open.  Yes, new life is coming, but there needs to be a dying first -- and in that dying all the seeds that could possibly be scattered, more abundance than we can imagine, will be sown for life to come.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Wonderful reflection today!