Lent: Planting Seeds in the Dark
The other day, Fred planted seeds in a long, greenhouse-like tray that will serve as their temporary home until they are big enough for pots. I watched him as he happily cared for his tender ones, spraying them with droplets and wishing them well in their first days of germination. He placed the tray in our bedroom window sill and asked me what I thought of our start of this year’s garden.
I was grumpy and cold, and he was way too Mr. Rogers, so I pulled the covers over my head and told him to take his botanical good mood elsewhere. It was 40 degrees and raining, and the chill from the uncovered window made me shiver.
But Fred knows a life-cycle secret that I can never seem to figure out: the cold, dark, crud-filled months of winter are perfect for planting seeds inside.
Lent is a holy season of self-reflection amid darkness, humility amid frigidity, and planting seeds in spite of our doubt that sun’s warmth will ever return.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NRSV)
During Lent, we plant seeds in spite of being cold and sitting low in a season of repentance. We plant because we have hope that a merciful God will bestow growth upon us, no matter how small or stubborn our seeds may be.
What seeds have you planted this Lent?
After Fred planted the seeds in our window sill, I thought about the metaphorical seeds we’ve planted this Lent:
- Getting to Know Jesus Again: Sharing Lent with a Hindu husband means finding creative ways to practice together. This Lent, Fred and I agree to read the Gospel of John, the “spiritual Gospel” written later than the other three that contains a significant amount of unique text, symbolic language, a high Christology of Jesus. John’s language of Word, Way, Truth, Life, and Bread bring me back to root of Jesus: “the Word became flesh,” so that we may never be separated from God’s love.
- Ekadasi is a bi-weekly fast that Gaudiya Vaisnavas (a sect of Hinduism) practice to get back to God. Grains and beans are banned for the day, creating an intention focused on food and spirituality. Because Fred is reading John with me, I’ve made it a Lenten intention to practice Ekadasi with him.
- Courageous Couples: Nearly two weeks ago, Fred and I were invited to join three other couples for a frank conversation with the Binkley Baptist Church Youth Group. Our Associate Pastor, the Rev. W. Dale Osborne, invited partners whom he deemed to be “Courageous Couples.” Each pair was asked to share any adversity they faced as a result of being a “non-traditional” partnership according some societal, cultural, ecclesiastical, and communal standards (e.g., interracial couples, LGBT couples, and interfaith partners). As we listened to the stories of the three other couples, Fred and I felt the least courageous. Many of the couples had endured hardships hoisted onto them by the reactions, comments, and baggage of others. It made Fred and I thankful for the amazing response we’ve had to our Christian-Hindu interfaith marriage from our worshiping communities, pastors, family, friends, and even strangers.
- Saffron Cross: Revisions on the last chapter of the book are nearly complete. The Upper Room Books editorial and marketing team have been patient and encouraging while I wrote (and revised!) a book from start to finish in under one year. Once all of the revisions are complete, we’ll begin intense editing in April. I am now convinced of Annie Dillard’s words:
I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as a dying friend. I hold its hand and hope it will get better. –Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
These are our Lenten seeds, planted in the dark, and awaiting the love and nourishment only God can give. May we all seek to sow seeds so that we can meet God in growth.
Please share your Lenten seeds below in the comment section.
All of the seeds that have been planted this year have been watered by your readership, support, and encouragement. Fred and I are thankful for you, and we pray God will give all of our seeds growth.