Preparing Our Soil

As I read Trevor’s excellent post yesterday about garden weeds, I was struck by a couple of things. First is how many times agrarian metaphors are used in Scripture. There are stories and analogies all over the place — about vines and branches, farmers and seeds, fig trees and fruit, trees planted by riverbeds. It’s a recurring motif throughout the Bible and a powerful way to look at what God is up to in the world.

The second thing that hit me was this: I stink at making things grow. I’m lucky to keep my lawn a pale shade of yellow, much less a healthy, natural green. Plants or flowers left in my care often find a premature demise.

The work Trevor described of pulling the rooted grass from his garden sounds like torture instead of joy. It seems like a lot of work to do without seeing an immediate result. But I have enjoyed the vegetables from his garden. I know the end result of their hard work is worthwhile.

imagesI fail at gardening because it is a discipline where all you can do is create the right conditions. All you can do is the prep work. The actually work of growing is out of your hands.

So this morning I am reminded of verses like…

I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.” 1 Cor 3:6

and

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Gal 5:22-23

…and I am convinced that Lent is much like gardening. It is the preparation of the soil of our hearts. We try to create the right conditions so that the Holy Spirit may do her work in us. We deprive ourselves and pray and read so that the fruit may be produced by a God who can make things grow.

It is my job to prepare the soil; God can produce the results.

So today I will pray this prayer. I invite you to pray it with me. I invite you to prepare the soil of your heart for the life-giving power of a God who produces life all around us. A God who breathes life into death. May he do in our hearts what he does every single day in the world around us.

O God,
You are the giver of life.
You make the flowers and plants grow.
And you produce the fruit in my life.
Give me today more love
more joy
more peace
more patience
more kindness
more goodness
more faithfulness
more self-control.
Make new life rise from the soil of my heart.
I want to see new life spring up within me.
I want a new life
a new mind
a new spirit.
May others see you when they see me today.
Amen

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