It's hard to believe that we're in the season of back to school, apple cider, fleece jackets and football! It seems that after this incredibly warm summer...it's finally starting to cool down. I even saw a leaf or two down from the huge maple trees in my yard...GASP! The sight of the giant maple leaf down in my yard made me reflect back to the late spring when my yard is FILLED with seeds. They were everywhere. I have 5 maples around my house and with each gust of wind, hundreds of "spinners" were released.
Maple seeds (aka samaras or "maple keys") are a marvel unto themselves! They are such a unique seed because upon inspection, you will find a perfectly crafted wing with a small seed enclosed in the bottom which acts as a weight. The weight causes the seed catch the wind and spin as it falls making its reach much farther than if it just fell. Ingenious.
In order for these "maple keys" to grow...another marvel of ingenuity must occur...they must undergo a process called stratification. DISCLAIMER: I am not a botanist, I just wanted to research these seeds because from my limited knowledge of farming, when you plant a seed, a plant grows there...my yard is definitely planted. So stratification is where a seed must be soaked and chilled before it can germinate.
Let me state this another way. Before the seed can sprout, it must undergo a good freeze from the ground to soften its shell and then get a soaking to start the germination process. Sounds harsh...but this is the only way it can sprout!
To put this into life terms, often times, we have to get out of our comfort zones before we can grow. There are seeds planted all through us that are stimulated into growth as we experience hardships...or even see others go through them. It is the harshness of poverty, the cry of orphans, the injustice of the hopeless that motivates us into action. Sometimes we don't even realize the seeds are planted there until the coldness stratifies them into growth.
The pointed question...where do you feel coldness...and perhaps is God trying to grow a seed inside of you? Maybe you have a family member who is far from God...maybe you're so sick of watching the TV and hearing about another murder...maybe you've seen the Compassion ads and wonder how we can live in a world where kids will die of starvation tonight? Maybe you're struggling financially and wondering how you'll make a bill payment...maybe you have a friend who is going through a circumstance that is far beyond their ability to carry and you wonder what God is doing through it...maybe you're watching a family member fight an unending battle with cancer? Where do you feel cold?
Our natural inclination is to turn away from these things rather then allow the razor sharp coldness inside. Why not give that coldness a purpose and allow it to grow something inside of you that wants the world to be different. I've never felt stronger about changing the world than when I've been exposed to it full-on with all of its brokenness.
"For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations." - Isaiah 61:11
We can never shy away from the suffering and injustice in the world. Turning a blind eye and ignoring these things just keeps the world cold. Let the cold stratify the good seeds that are planted in us...seeds of equality...seeds of opportunity...seeds of love and brotherhood...seeds of how this world was created to be. We all have those seeds planted within us...and we have the power to allow them to grow. The conditions are right.
Are you with me?
This Sunday, we'll be casting some vision as to how we can move together as ONE church to bring hope into the world...it's the mission Jesus has called us to...and it's one we take very seriously!
Hope to see you at the 11AM or 5PM service!