September 23, 2007

Reluctant ministry: Seeds of God

Today at Meeting for Worship at the monthly meeting, I found myself settling into this reflection:

I frequently come to worship hoping the meeting will serve my needs. What I need to do is come to meeting helping my meeting to serve God.
I sat with this awareness--and the sadness underlying it, which I won't go into here--for quite a while.

And then I realized I was being given something more, and I was humbled. I did not wish to give ministry today, but isn't that often how God works: those who are the most reluctant to serve are called upon...?

. . . . . . . . . .

In the spring I decided to prepare a small garden bed for some bergamot (monarda) I was wanting to plant. I noticed that there weren't any earthworms in that particular area of the yard, but I didn't make much of it: most of our backyard has very rich, fertile soil with lots of earthworms, and even though I think of myself as an amateur gardener, I was confident that I could grow bergamot without much trouble. I'm told that it's a very easy-to-grow, low-maintenance perennial.

So I made sure to buy a few plants during the annual Friends School plant sale this year--always a danger to go there, despite the list you've created ahead of time!--and I put them in the bed I had prepared.

Well, during the summer, nothing happened. The bergamot didn't grow, didn't put out any flowers. In fact, the leaves were starting to turn yellow, so I headed to my local garden store and asked for advice. Like me, she was surprised that the bergamot hadn't taken off. "It can grow almost anywhere!" she said, and I went home with a take-home soil test kit.

The test... well, let's just say that the soil failed in every category: No nitrogen, no phosphorus, no potash. The soil was dead, and I went back to the garden store. I was told to use some liquid plant food to get them through the summer but be prepared to dig the plants up in the fall and amend the living daylights out of the soil before replanting them.

That's what I did yesterday: I dug the bergamot up, added compost, green sand, and kelp (who knew?!), and then replanted them.

All this has made me consider the parable of the sower and my own condition:
Am I prepared to receive the Seeds of God that are tossed my way?

Am I hard and rocky? Am I too dry?

What can I do to prepare myself better to receive God?

How can any of us know what will help?


Nancy A said...

These two postings together bring up some other queries:

When we are in meeting, are we the seeds or the soil?

How did the soil lose its natural fertility?

Do meetings lose their fertility in the same way?

Should meetings strive to be pure, or should they welcome shovelfuls of *ahem* manure?

Liz Opp said...

Nancy, I love these additional queries! Thanks for taking the time to add them.