Reflections on Spiritual Practice

[Jesus] also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." ~ Mark 4.26-29 (emphasis mine)

In a thoughtful exercise of lectio divina (sacred reading) Sunday morning, a small group listened for God's word to us from this text. I was struck by the phrase, "he does not know how." Someone, presumably a farmer, scatters seed .... Nights and days pass .... The earth spins on its axis ... The man sleeps and rises .... Life continues as normal .... Presumably no one on earth knows better than this someone what's required for this seed in this piece of ground in this season. Likely no one cares more about its success.

But many things lie beyond the someone's capacity. The man can only do his part. Meanwhile, in the hidden places, God is doing the work this someone cannot. This is where life occurs!

This exercise + Sunday's lovely contemplative Taize worship (with wonderful guest musicians) underscore the theme of our 2-week MidMorning Prayer experiment.
  • Plant ... and trust God (text)
  • Listen ... don't be busy (Taize)
  • Pause from work ... and invite God (MidMorning Prayer).
In short, I can easily grow distracted and restless ... working, relying primarily on action ... erroneously imagining responsibility for what is God's in the first and final place. MidMorning Prayer is, at a certain level, a call to humility -- to recognize that like the 'someone,' I do what I'm called to do and can ... and that God brings life. First to the seed and also to me. Trust God.

"Let your loveliness shine on us, and bless the work we do, bless the work of our hands.”
                                                                                                   ~ Psalm 90.17, Benedictine prayer book

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