In his book, Taking Flight, Anthony de Mello tells this story. A woman goes into a store and finds God behind the counter. She asks, “What do you sell here?” God responds, “Everything your heart desires.” So she immediately asks for peace, love, freedom from fear, and happiness for all of humanity.” God smiles and says, “I’m afraid you misunderstood. We don’t sell fruits here. Only seeds.”
Only Seeds. What a beautiful reminder for all of us as we celebrate the central Mystery of our faith: the Resurrection. Notice, I capitalized the word because it refers to the Resurrection of Jesus. But writer Kathy Coffey suggests we all experience “small r” resurrections in our lives. She challenges us to name some of those resurrections so we might appreciate the “big R” Resurrection of Jesus.
What are some of our “small r” resurrections? Here are a few examples. Perhaps you and your spouse went through a “rough patch” in your marriage, and you came out of it better and even more committed to each other. Or maybe you see the ultrasound of your grandchild or you notice a teenager, whom you thought was self-centered, suddenly doing a very kind and unselfish thing. Or you see a friend working hard to curb her negatively or you notice people are checking on their neighbors more often these days. Or maybe you feel a stirring in your own heart to make more time for prayer or to get involved with a current issue you feel strongly about.
Easter 2020, for many of us, is unlike any other Easter we have probably celebrated. During the very week when many of us feel drawn to Church, we were being asked to stay away. Who would have thought? This Easter we had no Holy Week services (except perhaps online), no people to gather with for worship, no organs, no pianos, no choirs, no Easter lilies, no Easter dinner gatherings.
This deprivation of many of our usual signs and rituals for Easter, challenges us to look more carefully for the seeds of resurrection in our personal lives. This deprivation also calls us to notice these seeds of the resurrection in our local community, our state, our country, our world. Can you name at least one seed in each of these places?
When we ask God for peace, love, freedom from fear, and happiness for all humanity, we want God to give us fruits. But instead, God gives us seeds for everything our hearts desire. Getting seeds is more challenging than being handed fully ripened fruits. It means we are entrusted with bringing these seeds to eventual fruition. We must plant the seeds in good soil, water them with care, and pull the weeds that we know are certain to grow along with them.
How do we plant these seeds in our lives? There are many ways. Here are just a few. We plant the seed of peace by our calm and patient manner. We plant the seed of love by our attention and kindness to others. We plant the seed of freedom from fear by our daily prayer and trust in God. And we plant the seed of happiness for humanity by fully embracing our kinship with the entire Earth Community.
A question I’ve heard a lot recently is this: “Will this pandemic change us for the better?” I certainly hope so! Do you see any seeds of change in yourself because of the experience of this pandemic?
1) How was your celebration of Easter this year?
2) What are some of the desires of your heart? How might you plant the seeds for these things in your daily life?
3) How might COVID-19 change us for the better? Have you seen any evidence of this in your life and the life of your area, country, our world?
I wish you all a very Happy Easter–one filled with many seeds of resurrection!
I’m giving you two songs today. The first is a traditional Easter song by the Joslin Grover Choral Society entitled “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” The second is a contemporary Easter song by Kari Jobe called “Forever.” Take your pick—or listen to both of them! At the end is a short video called “Bird Song Opera.” It’s the songs (and noises) birds make synchronized to Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” (Thanks to Kathy for alerting me to this video.)
“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”:
“Bird Song Opera”:
I invite you to respond below. We all love hearing from you!