(A SEASON OF NEW GROWTH #2)
Wednesday, May 26th
This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 18:30, NRSV)
When I first began preparing this post, my plan was to write about tilling the soil. I had thought of using this as a metaphor for us to break apart and open ourselves to receive good seeds. But as I researched the benefits of tilling, I kept finding the benefits of “no-till gardening” instead! Of course, this new finding had much to show me about God and our spiritual life…
At My Soulful Home, Kelly Wilkniss writes:
With No Till Gardening, once the bed is established the surface is never disturbed. Amendments are layered on, added to the top of the bed. Over time, these amendments are pulled into the subsoil by watering and the busy undersoil organisms. Weeding becomes largely a thing of the past. It is replaced by mulching – adding more layers which smother the weeds & provide for your plants.
By adding material in layers, the underlying soil surface remains spongy, making it easy for the young roots of newly planted seedlings to work through the soil. This is similar to the way soil is formed in nature. Think of the forest floor. Tilling is a bad practice because your soil has its mojo going on and then you come at it with the sharp tines of your tiller and mess the whole thing up. It is akin to turning all the lights up really bright at a rockin’ party. Buzz kill!1
God is not outside of us, waiting for an opportunity to enter in when we break apart. God is already within us, gently working through us, creating the healthy soil of our souls to receive and nurture seeds of love. God opens and softens us to absorb the lessons that life layers on us, turning those layers into good compost, providing fertile ground for new growth.
All of our joys and sorrows, hurts and healings, gains and losses, successes and failures, are gathered, broken down, and integrated into beneficial and nourishing topsoil that will foster our growth as people of God. The showers of God’s love gently wash away all that is no longer useful, leaving only the essential goodness from each experience. We gain from our experiences such things as kindness, acceptance, compassion, hope, forgiveness, joy, peace, and love, under a protective and nurturing cover. Through all of the layers, we also grow in our awareness of God’s constant, caring, and active presence in our lives.
As we learn to embrace everything life offers, as we learn to place every layer of our lives into God’s transforming power, we will soon discover surprising new growth sprouting up into the sunshine.