A Dangerous Seed

Last spring, with the pandemic in full swing and a lot of time on our hands, my daughter Isabella and I planted a few tomato seeds in some peat pots in our living room. Isabella is only 2 years old and at that amazing stage where everything she sees is a source of wonder and amazement. She quickly got used to our new morning routine;  filling up a cup with some water at the sink and going to the living room to water each of the small little seeds (not always very smoothly, but she is a work in progress). It didn't take long for the seeds to germinate and for the little buds to creep out of the soil. This motivated Isabella even more, she wanted to water those plants everytime her gaze landed on their little green arms reaching out. 

As summer approached we went out to the yard and planted our sprouts into the soil. We soon after left on our summer trip to Michigan. Before leaving, I went to Lowe’s to try to purchase some tomato cages to place around the plants and guide their growth, but Lowes was sold out and I ran out of time, so we left without putting them in place. When we returned to Pennsylvania at the end of July, we found that the tomato plants had grown so large that they had fallen over into the yard, covering almost half of our yard with rich green leaves, but the beginnings of the tomatoes had quickly become wet, split and rotten.

In Psalm 126:5 we read the words, “Those who sow in tears shall reap the shouts of joy.” Israel’s history is filled with times of abundance, joy and the providence of God, but we also know that the Old Testament is filled with heartache and pain.  Just like the Israelites, we know the whispers of our true Kingdom, a home where God is at the head, “wiping every tear from our eye” helping us find our true selves, and yet , how quickly we chase after almost anything else.

Yet within each one of us is this divine seed that Thomas Kelly calls “ the amazing and dangerous seed of divine awareness” The seed is very small, almost insignificant, it whispers of our true self, but many of us can barely hear its voice. It awaits our tending, our attention, our cultivation holding infinite potential to bring God-awareness to our reality, but can also lay dormant, quiet, waiting.  

Just like the plants in my garden need attention, some water on occasion, to be placed in the right conditions, with sunlight and occasional weeding. We give them our attention and before we know it the amazing process of nature, a miracle in itself,  develops into this beautiful plant and eventually, fruit.

In psalm 126 it says that this seed is sowed in despair. Often this is how God works, he plants this seed within us and often places us in contexts of hopelessness, pain and suffering. But it is precisely in these contexts that the seed will grow and flourish. The awakened seed of Christ, in the midst of pain, can often find its deepest roots if we only give it a little attention some care and a sense of devotion.

Jesus takes this image further when he talks about a mustard seed. Mustard seeds are known to be incredibly small but the mustard plant can quickly take over an entire mountain side if the conditions are right.

It is from this same awakened seed within us that every major prophet of the bible and world shaker has changed the course of human history. It is also from this divine seed that humans have withstood great oppression, loss and travesty and still pointed to goodness, truth and compassion.    

RCC is soon going to be entering a new phase, one in which we have the opportunity to develop and grow through the many tools of the christian faith. This growth can help us to center our attention and care on this seed within each one of us. As we begin to see this seed grow and flourish in our own lives we will inevitably begin to recognize the beauty and potential of this seed in one another.

As our “self-consciousness” grows into “God-consciousness” we will even begin to see this divine seed all around us in all of our circumstances and the gifts of the physical world as well. Abraham Joshua Heschel pointed to this beautiful kind of God-seeing in this quote;
Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are, but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme… to sense the ultimate in the common and simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.”  - Abraham Joshua Heschel “I Asked for Wonder”

I am excited to enter into this journey with you church, as we get to embark on it together.
Jon VanWyngarden, RCC Retooling Sunday Team Member
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Amanda Hertzler - October 27th, 2020 at 3:37pm

I love this analogy Jon, thanks for sharing!

Nancy M - November 10th, 2020 at 11:53am

Jon, this is so good. Often the smallest, more quiet part of us (in Christ) can bloom fully into the divine obedience God had planted in us from our beginnings! Thanks for this post brother.