At the start of fall, my mom and I would harvest seeds. A summer of marigolds, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, and perilla leaves would give way to fall. Those seeds looked so unlike and unrelated to the plants from which they came. Bright orange compact blooms would dry into narrow, black and brown seeds, some with a hint of orange at the end. Stalks of perilla, green spade-shaped leaves sometimes as big as my hand, would grow a small shoot of flowers from which we get the tiny black seeds.
When my own children were young, we planted watermelon, broccoli, and brussels sprouts from seed. Sometimes the payoff would take too long for them to remain interested in the necessary daily watering and weeding. But when harvest time came, there was always a moment of awe.
The image of seeds dying into new life requires faith and imagination. Who could have imagined a resurrected Christ? What does that imagination dare us to dream? What if it’s not just seeds and bodies but also the church? We know what it looks like for seeds to die and return in full bloom to provide beauty and food. But what does it look like for our lives as they once were to die and return as intended on earth as reflections of God the Creator, as creators bringing flourishing and peace? What would it look like for the church in its buildings and programs to die and return in full bloom to live out God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven?
God, creator of all living things, grant us the imagination to bring forth your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Joseph had experienced betrayal by his brothers and then had been sold into slavery. At the time, he no doubt felt abandoned by God. However, after God raises up Joseph in Egypt, Joseph is able to provide for his family in a time of drought. Although others have acted with evil intentions, God uses those actions for good. The psalmist offers a similar encouragement. We struggle in the real challenges that face us, but we believe in a God who can carry us through them. In First Corinthians, Paul explains that God carries us even through death to resurrection glory on the other side. Jesus teaches us to respond to evil with mercy. Because we believe in a God who will ultimately bring justice, we do not need to serve as judge and executioner.
Read Genesis 45:3-11, 15. How would considering your children’s children to seven generations change the way you make decisions?
Read Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40. What is your relationship to the land where you live now and the land where you lived as you grew up?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50. How do you live out the characteristics of God’s imperishable realm?
Read Luke 6:27-38. How do you respond to Jesus’ call to love your enemies? How does your community of faith follow this gospel requirement?
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