Mark 4:1-9

My grandparents lived on a busy street corner. A modest yard surrounded their simple ranch-style house. When they retired, the gardening hobby they quickly took up became an unpaid second career. They transformed their patch of earth into a tropical paradise. Those who passed by noticed. Cars slowed for a better look at the colorful, exotic flowers. Strangers sent thank-you notes for the surprising beauty they meticulously tended, an obvious labor of love.

Cultivating nutritious soil is essential for gorgeous gardens, and manure and compost are keys to it. Early each spring, a truckload of manure arrived to be spread across their lawn. What a stink! But what green, lush grass resulted. My grandparents composted before composting was hip. After every meal, we scraped our table scraps into a special container. The next morning Grandmother turned the soil around, checked on her earthworms, dug a hole to pour the scraps in, and let the decomposition process do its job. “This is a lot of work for flowers,” my younger self thought.

My older self sees that they were imparting spiritual truth: Manure matters. Scraps count. Waste nothing, not even life’s “yucky stuff,” because a little intentionality helps create something new and nourishing. What if, instead of denying grief, I blessed it? Instead of repressing anger, allowed it? Instead of muting pain or failure, listened to it? Maybe inviting these things into my inner life to be transformed and broken down would make the ground of my being a rich environment for the seeds of the Spirit to flourish. For my grandparents, the flowers were worth the extra work. They are to me too.


What am I denying, repressing, muting, or tossing? How could I welcome it into the “ground of my being”? What might God grow in my inner garden?


God, help me give all of my life to you so that you might turn it into a garden of your love and compassion in my corner of the world. Amen.

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