Meditation written by Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Felicia Roper.
With a machete, a sand brush, and a bucket of herbicide in hand, Hal paid us a visit yesterday. He was here to attack a kudzu-like plant known as “beach vitex” that has threatened to take over the South Carolina Lowcountry. This Korean plant looks and smells like eucalyptus and bears beautiful purple flowers, but it produces hundreds of thousands of seeds. Its growth pattern “makes kudzu look like a wimp” (Hal’s words), eroding dunes and killing sea turtle hatchlings and native plants such as sea oats. To prevent spreading, you have to kill the plant before you pull it up, since a live beach vitex plant “tosses seeds like a sower” (Hal again). So we watched as Hal went from one plant to another, using his machete to skin the outer layer off the vine and then paint it with a green liquid.
In this sowing season we call Lent, Hal reminds me of the parable of the sower found in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:4-15). In the familiar story, the sower spreads seeds on all kinds of soil. Some is rocky and some is thorny. Some seeds fall on the path and get eaten by the birds and some ground is fertile. Corinne Ware points out that our typical analysis of this story includes figuring out what kind of ground we are. Are we the rocky ground or the thorny ground, or are we fertile soil ready to produce fruit from the seeds?
In fact, we are all of these at some points in our lives, and perhaps even all of them in a single day. Sometimes we are open and ready to hear a sacred word intended for us. At other times we’re busy on our well-worn paths and miss a gift that might have been ours. Some days life is so tough we can’t hear anything but the thoughts in our own heads that, like thorns, threaten to choke off life-giving messages and experiences. Sometimes we’re angry or hurt and in a place too rough for anything productive to get in.
Each of us is also a sower of seeds. A horticulturist thought beach vitex would be a fast-growing way to hold together dunes that had to be replenished after Hurricane Hugo. Likewise, we sometimes think we’re sowing good seeds and wind up being well-intended, but wrong. Today, ponder yourself as a recipient of seeds sown by the Spirit and as a sower of seeds as well.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.