Wednesday, March 07, 2012

An Inch at a Time

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 -- Week of 2 Lent
Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 202

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 953)
Psalms 72 (morning)        119:73-96 (evening)
Genesis 42:18-28
1 Corinthians 5:9 - 6:8
Mark 4:1-20

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

The parable seems to me like a description of my own interior landscape. 

God is always pouring loving grace into me, sowing seeds of divine presence and energy. 

But I have hard places -- old paths of habits, the hardened ground of repeated behavior and thought, resisting being broken up enough to allow the new seed to enter. 

And I have thin and rocky soil -- times when I receive the grace of insight or call with initial enthusiasm, but I don't have the patient discipline to allow it to take root and become established.  When stress and pressure mounts, I revert to my old self-centered ways. 

And some of God's good desire for me I choke with "the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things." 

But that's not all.  I do have some good soil.  I have heard and nurtured the word and grace of God, and it has born fruit.  Sometimes I catch on, and wonderfully good things happen.  I can and do participate in God's work.  When that happens, it is the source of my greatest gratitude.

Sister Joan Chittister has said, "We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again." 

That metaphor works for our personal landscape also.  Each day when we pray, we invite the Spirit to plow a little deeper, to break up another inch of psychic soil.  Every act of contrition and confession is our willingness to put the shovel into our hardened ground and open it to the spiritual water and light that brings life.  Every act of forgiveness is our willingness to pick up a rock and cast it away so that it no longer burdens the seed of God's living.  Every intercession and every act of kindness is a reclaiming of an adjacent inch of the planet, inviting the healing energies of the sun/Son. 

The amazing thing is how much God can do with so little.  It only takes an inch of soil here and and inch of soil there for God to create "thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."  God is so encouraging.  Every once in a while I visit with someone who knows what God has done with a particularly hard or thorny place in their life.  The gratitude and amazement is palpable. 

Spring is beginning eternally.  Spiritual growth, like organic growth, has its times and its seasons.  Every day is a day when we can reclaim an inch of the planet, including an inch of our own psychological and spiritual territory.  All it takes is a little turning.  God gives the seed.  The living waters and the eternal light bless the whole.  Slowly, mysteriously, from the dark rooted depths emerges new life.  With just a bit of protection it will grow and produce great fruit to feed a hungry world and to scatter seeds of future possibility.  An inch at a time.

Lowell

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Nancy H said...

Beautifully written. We have all heard many sermons on The Sower & The Seed, but this spoke to me this morning. Thank you.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for the comment yesterday, Nancy H.
Lowell

 

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