1st Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-10 & Psalm 1
I brought the last bunch of my garlic to show you this morning. You are probably wondering why… The reading from Jeremiah talks about the importance of roots. Let me read you this reading again but from “The Message” Bible translation: (READ)
I hang my garlic up just as it comes from my garden. You can see it still has lots of roots on it, as well as dried leaves. Without those roots the bulbs would get no nourishment from the soil or the water in the soil. Without roots, the one clove I planted would not have become the full bulbs that you see. If the soil had been depleted, or the water supply inadequate, those bulbs would have been stunted – if they had grown at all.
What we are planted and rooted in makes a difference. Jeremiah tells us not to depend on human thinking and actions for our spiritual growth and safety. Humans are fallible. Humans may be corrupt and self-serving. Humans in power – who have the power to make decisions that affect our lives – those humans may be influenced by the desires and motivations of other humans – and sometimes it seems that none of them are guided by the real needs of real people, or by any sense of doing what is right.
Which brings us back to God. The very first Psalm in our scripture tells us “Blessed are those who follow the law of God.” “They are like trees planted beside streams of water, yielding their fruit in due season. Their leaves do not wither, and whatever they produce shall prosper.”
We need to be conscious of where our roots are – from what source are we drawing our strength? How are we making moral decisions about how we shall live our lives? Do we think for ourselves about issues that require deep consideration – issues of ethical concerns, issues around social justice, or care for the environment? Do we ask for spiritual guidance when we are unsure – and then listen to the still small voice of Spirit – the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that spark of the Divine living in each of us? Or do we listen to the “talking heads” on evening news shows, or go to Google for answers, or read books by “experts”?
The Living God has not abandoned us, and never will. We are all invited to draw on the strength and the great love of God that nourishes and protects us as we grow into spiritual maturity – like Living Water.
Hymn #87 MV “Living Water”
2nd Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 & Luke 6:17-26
Holy Mystery. Paul points out that our faith pivots around the resurrection of Jesus. We read or hear the story over and over again if we are Christians. Some of us believe in a physical resurrection – a restoration of the body as we know it. Some believe in a more mystical or spiritual resurrection – a continuation of consciousness in some form other than a physical body. And some folk believe that the story is a metaphor for what we see around us: new comes from old, birth from death, success from failure. The compost we lovingly create and put on our gardens nourishes new life in the spring.
I confess that I don’t know yet what resurrection will look like – but I do believe that it is a critical part of Jesus’ message, and of our faith. After all we have been promised eternal life, haven’t we? Jesus has assured us that he will be with us to the end of time – but he is not here in a body, is he? Yet many of us can attest to his presence in our lives. And he did say that he couldn’t stay with us in the body, or else the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would not be able to be with us. More mystery!
He also promised that he goes “to prepare a place for you.” We can only guess what that “place” looks like. More mystery…
I personally believe that we are deeply spiritual beings, and that our life here on earth is not the end. Like the caterpillar who spins a cocoon and goes to sleep only to be transformed into a butterfly – a creature infinitely more beautiful and complex than the caterpillar – we are being prepared for a new life of the spirit – more Holy Mystery.
Spirit of life – we aren’t just bone and sinew – we are consciousness and personality and mind and heart – and finally Spirit! Children of God, there is nothing to be afraid of. Trust in the power and the Love of God. All will be well.
Hymn #381 VU “Spirit of Life”