This past week I planted my potted vegetable garden. It is always an amazing experience to bury these tiny tiny seeds into the soils darkness. It assaults my logic to think that life — nourishing life — will stretch forth in two weeks time. As I uttered my disbelief and doubt my farming friend Mario assured me: “Alan you must remember seeds want to grow — seeds want to grow.” And I silently questioned myself: “Do I want to grow? And if so I must remember that growing may look and feel like burial — like death — to begin with”.
When I handed out tiny lettuce seeds at Wednesday Church many people did not know what they were holding. One person even said “it looks like a dead flea”. No one said — “I am holding a tasty nourishing lettuce”. So it is sometimes with the way we see ourselves, others and the world at large. We see something that is dead and useless when in actual fact it is alive and life-giving.
I know that the seeds that I have planted will not produce enough food for me to live off, at best they will add some variety to my salads over summer. Then why do it? Well I call it “sacramental farming” — in that it puts me in touch with the much larger mystery of LIFE. It reminds me that food does not come from a shelf in a supermarket, but that food comes from soil, and sun and water and the bended backs and muddied hands of labourers. It reminds me that I am dependent on others and creation for my life. That I am not a self-sufficient independent being! And when I am more in touch with all that has gone into producing the food I appreciate it more — it actually tastes different!
Remember God was a gardener. To garden is Godly. I hope you too will discover this to be true. Alan