Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 34

Monday, March 22 –  Seed … Promise of Life

Genesis 2:4b-9 … the Lord God made to grow every tree
Isaiah 11:1-9 … a shoot will spring from the stump of Jesse
Matthew 13:31-32 … it is the smallest of all seeds
Luke 8:4-15 … the seed is the word of God

As I walk around my neighbourhood, I see many different types of trees and marvel at their ability to ensure continuity through their seed. The oak produces acorns, the maple rains down “helicopter” seeds, the apple tree hides her small black seeds in its fruit, and most pine trees produce cones that when dry release their seeds. All tree seeds start from small beginnings with the potential to develop into trees that grow to their full height, are pleasing to the eye, good for food and shelter, just as God intended. Likewise, we can start small and spread God’s word with family, friends and neighbours, and what begins small can grow and bear fruit.

Most trees bear fruit that will fall to the ground and the seeds will germinate given enough nutrient rich soil, light, heat and moisture, but there are others that require fire. While on vacation with my wife in Yellowstone National Park, we learned the majority of the trees in the park were Lodgepole pine that seals its seeds in wax covered cones. The cones fall to the ground and wait until a forest fire causes them to burst open and scatter the seed, just as God intended. Roaring fires frequently engulf the Yellowstone and destroy the forest, but the Lodgepole pinecone seeds bring new trees and new life to the park.

The roaring fires of conflict, pestilence and famine and their effect on God’s people are nothing new to our world. These “fires” spread quickly and cause panic, difficulties and even death as we can see has occurred with COVID-19. After the “fire” ends changes will take place, and like the Lodgepole pine God’s seeds will be sown. Some will fall on hard, dry paths, some on rocky terrain, some amongst thorns and weeds, but the truth that falls on nutrient rich soil will produce a huge crop. My son attends a large church in Toronto, and he invited a friend to church, then another friend, and they invited a friend and then another, and over a period of a year there were six new believers. He started small and with God’s blessing his fruit was multiplied.

I trust that God’s word will be heard and transformation will occur – those who did not hear will listen, those whose faith was dormant will be renewed, those who put money and pleasure before God will listen, and those who believe will continue to flourish.

As people of God, we are released by the fire. Nothing will be able to separate us from God’s everlasting love. G. Austin

For Reflection and Journaling:
1. When have worries, pleasures, and possessions prevented me from growing in my faith?
2. How many of my small beginnings have produced a bountiful crop?

Meditative Prayer:
Lord help me become free from the thorns in my life,
and set my mind on heavenly treasures. Amen.

Week of Guided Prayer Network, Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council, The United Church of Canada, 2020.