hope of seeds

Hope of Seeds

by Abigail Conley

My church is kicking off a stewardship campaign this week. We chose the theme, “From seeds to fruit.” Today, I finished up posters with images of those steps. Mostly, though, I’ve been thinking about seeds.

I grew up on a farm, with a father who worked at a farm supply store. I remember being in the back of the store with giant bins of seeds. I’m pretty sure most people, when they think of seeds, think of the kind you plant. They think of seeds that create corn, beans and pumpkins. They think of seeds that are distinct. They think of seeds that can often be eaten or planted.

When I think of seeds, though, I think of the tiny ones that are sown. Sowing seeds sounds so eloquent, biblical even. In reality, it’s far more chaotic. Seeds that are sown are tiny, and more or less strewn into rows, or maybe seedbeds, or small pots. They’re never carefully placed like seeds of larger varieties. The tiny seeds that would be sown were the ones that filled up the bins in the back of the farm store of my childhood. I never got my fill of running my hands through them. My dad knew what each one was, of course. Many of them were grass seeds. I remember the way they flowed through my hands, softer, silkier than any fabric could ever be.

Believing those tiny seeds could produce anything was an act of faith. The seeds were so tiny, no one was even worried about the ones that spilled onto the ground when they were bagged for a customer. Of course, I recall Jesus’ words, “…faith the size of a mustard seed…”

Those of us who live apart from the rhythm of sowing or planting, waiting, and harvesting, miss out a little. We miss out on the beauty of a small plant peeking out of the ground. We miss out on the worry of too much or too little water. We miss out on the goodness of going out and picking our food to eat that very night. We miss out on that rhythm that offers a deep hope in the order of the world. It is a rhythm nearly as old as humanity, after all.

So I think about seeds, seeds that point to that rhythm, and let my body grow calm and my mind cease its worry. The anxieties of life run deep for me, as they do for most of us. There are many things to be done in my own life—and after all, if not me, who? I wait for an election days away, wondering if the outcome drastically alters my life. As they should, my friends remind me of the things I shouldn’t let slip from my view because they are the things of God. They are voting early in suffragette white. They drive by the places where people of color were killed, forgotten by most only days later. They call me to vigils for those things and others, like domestic violence, one of those things that is supposed to draw our awareness this month.

I know they struggle to remember those things, too, among jobs, and marriages, children to take care of, and babies on the way.  

And I remember seeds.

I trust in the promise that they hold: our future is full of hope. Some days, that hope is evident, like a bit of green breaking the dirt for the first time. Some days, that hope is realized, like the bite of an apple when the first hint of cool is in the air.

And some days, that hope is buried beneath the earth, waiting. Just waiting. The rhythm of life long established will take over at any time, as holy as God’s ordering of the world in the first days of creation.

So today, I think about seeds.