Oats, peas, beans, and barley are more than foods to eat. They are seeds. Farmers are in the business of putting perfectly good food in the ground in hopes that it will grow and maybe even multiply. Though we are a perennial farm, there has been lots of seed planting going on these days. Lettuce, green onions, carrots, beets, peas, parsley, and cilantro are all among the veggies getting planted in the sides of the greenhouse that are not taken up by the trellises of the raspberry bushes. Some seeds like lettuce, carrots, and parsley are so tiny it is hard to believe that anything can become of them!
Planting seeds is an act of faith. The work of preparing the soil and watering the ground is costly grace.
The casting away of the seeds that are perfectly good food to begin with and have been painstakingly collected and purchased, means that what is precious is given away (food, time, energy, effort, and resources), and buried in the hope that it will germinate and survive the onslaught of weather, pests, weeds, soil conditions. And the truth is that it may not!
Jesus talks a lot about seeds. He tells a story about a mustard seed that reminds us that even the tiniest of seeds can provide shade, shelter, and food for the birds in the middle of the garden. He tells us of wheat and weed seeds that need to be allowed to grow together lest the eradication of weeds kill the wheat as well. He imagines a sower whose seeds fall in all sorts of different terrain and is subject to all sorts of conditions but the seed that finds the good soil multiplies so much so that nothing is really lost. Jesus teaches that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit.
Seedtime is a time of loss and uncertainty. There is no guarantee of a great multiplication, but in
the planting there is a faithfulness that looks to the future. As the entrenchment of culture war continues, the threat of world war increases, the next wave of pandemic looms, and the climate crisis erupts, the seeds that are planted now are more important than ever no matter how small the seed. The time to reseed and over seed love, hope, and faithfulness is now!
The Archbishop Oscar Romero preached that
one must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us…. Those
who try to fend off the danger will lose their lives, while those who out of love for Christ give themselves to the services of others will live, live like the grain of wheat that dies but only apparently. If it did not die it would remain alone. The harvest comes about only because it dies, allowing itself to be sacrificed in the earth and destroyed. Only by undoing itself does it produce the harvest.