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Easter 5A Gospel

John 14:1-14

Joseph W. Cunningham

Behind our apartment just to the side of our back patio and next to where the kids like to play, we decided to do some planting in an above-ground garden. Last week we went over to the nursery and got some jalapeño seeds, some tomato and lettuce seeds, and other spices too. Then we got the enriched soil full of all the nutrients necessary for feeding plants and vegetables. We got the plant food to sprinkle on the soil, so that the soil stays nitrified after all the watering, and we even picked up a little garden spade to help us with whatever digging needs doing. We got all the stuff. We got it home. Then we assembled all the elements—I’m not sure if that’s appropriate gardening terminology—but that’s what we did. We put our little garden together.

Now, to be completely honest, neither one of us had ever grown vegetable plants before. The only plants I’ve ever taken care of lived a relatively short and miserable existence. All the plants given to my care shriveled up from either too much or not enough water and sunlight. I’m not what you’d call a green thumb. It shouldn’t surprise that I felt especially ignorant when we went to the nursery to get our seeds and soil. I had lots of questions to ask the staff: How many seeds should I plant? How much soil should I use per volume? When and how often do I apply the enriched plant food? How much water do they need? How much sunlight? Do we plant them now, or should we wait?

I’ve got virtually zero know-how when it comes to growing plants, but I’m cautiously optimistic that, the more we try, the more we learn, and the more we apply what we learn, the more likely we are to have some decent results, even when we face opposition, like inclement weather or temperamental soil. When it comes to gardening, growth takes time. Growth takes learning. Growth takes commitment.

This is true of course in a lot of different areas.

Whatever we’re growing, whether it’s plants or raising children or even if we’re nurturing our community of faith to growth in holiness—to foster growth, it takes time, learning, and commitment. Sometimes we face opposition and setbacks. Sometimes the weather abruptly changes and it gets cold. Sometimes the skies open up and the rain pours down. Sometimes the seeds we plant don’t sprout, for whatever reason.

Nevertheless, when it comes to planting seeds for growing church, the Scriptures testify to the faithfulness of God to that end, especially when those who witness to Christ use each and every opportunity to carry out his will to the honor and glory of his name.