FROM THE HERMITAGE
By sister alies therese
On earth day I planted one seed, a giant sunflower sent to me by a friend in California. If it sprouts and is nourished it might grow to 15’14” across. Oh my. That’s a lot for one seed. While thinking about this one seed (and she sent me seven) I recalled the wonders God has done and was drawn to Psalm 104 where we encounter God as provider and creator.
In this springtime some of our readers are suffering perhaps from illness or accident, aging or loneliness. You might be reading from a prison or a nursing home, from your den or garden. What I learned from this Psalm is how rich and bountiful our God is and no matter where I make this meditation, (34) I can sing (33) praise to God. This is a seed of hope.
What is the one seed you will plant today? Is it an actual seed like mine, or will it be a seed of happiness or healing? Will it be a seed of thanksgiving or peace, or gratitude or friendship? See each day as the opportunity to plant one seed. Maybe it will be a phone call, or kindness to a visitor, or writing an email to someone who is sick. One seed can change things greatly. This God knows and shows God’s graciousness to us. Our favorite ‘one seed’ is Jesus. One seed planted and grown and rescued from permanent danger by being raised from the dead. Not all seeds seem to flourish like Jesus … they pop up and then whither. I do not want to wither, and Psalm 104 shows me how God, our provider wishes the same.
We remember the story about the seeds on the path, the seeds in the thorns, the seeds on rich soil. Maybe only one seed prospered … the rich soil made it possible. The birds and creeping things each come from one seed. Out of all the reproductive possibilities, one seed is available, one seed blossoms, one seed provides nourishment. And what did Jesus say that seed was? The Word of God. Are you reading your Bible? Are you finding new ways to grow in God? Are you praying in thanksgiving for the treasures of God?
In this Psalm, I am happy to read about all of creation and also about how I can respond. I can rejoice, sing and mediate and my love for God is deepened, and I increase my wonder and awe of all that God created. I can also be alert to the ways human beings are not generous with the creation of God.
Russell Baker, a US journalist who remarked in an article in the New York Times on Feb. 22, 1968, “We live in an environment whose principal product is garbage.” I dare say we have not become more responsible in all these years. Rachel Carson, environmentalist, and writer, in her work Silent Spring, noted: “For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.”
What is this garbage besides the obvious plastic? Well, when it is a seed of resentment or anger, hatred or regret the ‘garbage’ in our souls grows. When our focus is on the things of this world that keep us from God, chemicals surround us … dangerous and contaminating. What breaks the cycle of negativity? What causes us to be transformed into peacemakers and children of such a gracious Father? Well, plant the seeds, even if only one of charity within and all the others will fall into place. Consider St. James 1:21ff, who sets the seeds of welcome and meekness against those of sordidness and wickedness. They are like smog in the throat keeping one from singing.
“ ‘Once-ler!’ He cried with a cruffulous croak.
‘Once-ler! You’re making such smogulous smoke! My poor Swomee-Swams…why they can’t sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat.” (Dr. Seuss, The Lorax).
That includes the smog in our hearts. Plant something today that will bring joy and healing to hearts and minds. It could be green things that drive out the smog and invite us into the refreshment of God.
(Sister alies therese is a canonically vowed hermit with days formed around prayer and writing.)