Monday, September 26, 2016

I Saw Jesus on TV

Not literally, mind you, but I saw Jesus on TV. I do not even know the show. My wife had been watching food shows on PBS on Saturday afternoon, and I had been going in and out of the room. When I was in I was reading a magazine or playing on my phone. But while I was sitting there, something caught my attention.

It was a farmer, and he was showing how to gather seeds from his vegetables. When I started watching he was showing the proper way to gather sunflower seeds from a sunflower. He had a sunflower and an empty cardboard box. That was it. He explained how to add salt, if you want salted seeds when you eat them. He reminded not to add salt if you planned on planting them the next year.

He then moved on to tomatoes. Showing how to leave them out to get to the seeds, and let them ferment so they will grow. He showed how to cover them so the birds do not get to them. It was so simple, but something I had never learned in my four plus decades on this earth.

Then he went on carrots. I had never seen a carrot seed in my life.

Living downtown in a townhouse, I do not have much of a yard. A big part of that is by choice. But this moved me in a deep and profound way. His leathered skin from the scores of years in the sun, his calloused hands so lovingly picking out the seeds he had harvested. It was beautiful. And then he shared his wisdom on top of the knowledge he had just imparted.

"I think everyone should grow something," he said."Even if it is just one thing. Grow it to have something you grew, and let at least some of your crop go to seed so you can do it again next year. And when I share some seed, people ask to pay me, I say, 'Naw. You share with someone else. You give to them to pay me back." And that's when Jesus broke through for me.

I have always wrestled with the idea of Grace verses Works. Theologically I am firmly in the Grace camp, but dealing with those who live firmly in the tit-for-tat existence of this world, explaining Grace to them is a foreign language. Grace is a different programming language, and it just does not compute. But this man, with his seeds gave me a clue to that Abundant Life that Jesus talked about in John 10:10.

Some people are in the planting stage, just like in Jesus' metaphor of his parable of the Sower. Some are at the point where they are growing their own produce, and enjoying the fruits of their labor and the joy of their garden. But maybe Jesus, through the wizened gardener, is calling for us to go one step further. He wants us to go to seed. He wants us to produce enough for us, and then to make enough to sustain us next year and share with someone else so they can get in on this Abundant Life, too.

On Resurrection Day, Mary confused Jesus for a gardener, and on Saturday I did, too. I saw him on TV, showing me how to gather sunflower, tomato and carrot seeds. And he invited me to that Abundant Life. Earlier in John 10 Jesus says his sheep will know his voice, and I think I heard it on PBS last Saturday.

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Blessings, Rock