Friday, October 10, 2008
As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let not your hands be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.
- Ecclesiastes 11:5-7
I never knew my grandfather on my mom's side. He died of a massive stroke several years before I was born. But I secretly think there is a part of him that lives inside me. He was a farmer his whole life. When he married my grandmother, he drove her home in a horse-pulled buggy to a farm he purchased for them to tend. Over the years, through the Great Depression, he slowly added acres and acres of land to his farm. I believe he had over 1000 acres near Archie Missouri, just South of Kansas City. The farm stayed in the family until just a few years ago when my aunts were forced to sell it. But I have warm memories of Christmas at the farm. My mom's childhood was filled with summers working in the fields of corn and watermelons. "On a hot, still day, you could hear the corn crackle as it grew" she'll tell. "We would sneak into the watermelon field and break them open, just eating the sweet 'hearts' because there were so many growing."
When I was young and growing up in California, mom would plant the biggest garden most city-folk had ever seen - about 1/4 acre of flowers and strawberries, and another 1/4 acre of all sorts of vegetables (we lived in a very rural area south of San Francisco). I had to do my part to weed and water each day before I could do anything else. I hated it, but now I find myself wishing I could start such a mini-farm. Perhaps it is in our blood somehow. There's something inside me too, that wants to connect with my Grandfather; I sense I know something about him when I smell a tomato leaf or pick a squash I've grown. The smell of a tomato plant after it has been watered is the aroma of creation. How can it be? -- watch a plant pop up, soak up sun and water and nutrients and grow. We do so little, and God does so much with those tiny efforts. Wow.
Generous Houston gave me a couple of cucumber seedlings earlier this Summer. I built a garden box, about 8' X 6' and planted the cukes. One died quickly. The other didn't grow huge vines for some reason, but it started to crank out cucumbers anyway, and just recently quit. I think we enjoyed about 10 or more big, fresh cucumbers from this one, somewhat stunted, plant. Cucumbers or zucchini are spectacular because you can look at them in the morning and yet by evening they will have grown a couple of inches. Miraculous!
Root, leaf, vine, fruit - gifts . . . from tiny seeds.
"Praise God from whom all things flow."
It's no wonder Jesus used such inexplicable, miraculous kinds of events to describe his Kingdom. "The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed..." He told parables about seeds, cursed a fig tree that failed to produce fruit, and taught from God's word as he strolled through grain fields. There is a profound lesson that comes from seemingly dead seeds and the startling potential that lies within each one. Each seed seems to whisper, "Don't you understand? If God can do this with me, what could he do with a grand creation like you?"