In June, before I left town to greet my new granddaughter, Fiona, I plant-ed a few sunflower seeds from a packet labeled “gigantic” in the little raised garden bed between the church and the parking lot. The seeds sprouted and the seedlings stayed small for a while, but then before our eyes the stalks grew solid and tall – the largest one 9 or 10 feet high – un-til it started to bend under the weight of the huge flower. When the yel-low petals fell off, I cut it. So many seeds, in geometric pattern! Curious, I resurrected my long-unused school geometry (by googling the formula) and calculated the area of the face of the 15 inch- diameter sunflower – 176 square inches! I multiplied that by about 15 seeds per square inch: 2,649 seeds, give or take a hundred! All from one seed!!!
At church we talk about growth – always hoping for more people to join us, more people to choose Jesus, and to grow in maturity and knowledge of God. But the sunflower makes me think of a different kind of King-dom growth, which happens when, as Jesus said, we respond to “the least of these” in his name.
Kingdom growth is growth in the practices of the Kingdom: kindness, patience, mercy, forgiveness, justice, equality – each welcome, each act of grace, each Christ-like encouragement, is an act of planting a seed of the gospel of Jesus. These seeds, if watered and given sunlight (Son-light!) can multiply exponentially to build God’s Kingdom of love and light. Sun-flower light!
One thing we do at OCC is plant seeds. Sunday School, church, Munch n Mingle care of people – all relational moments in which the Good News of Jesus can multiply. Does anyone have a story of planting a gospel seed and seeing growth, in your life or someone else’s? Please share.
See you in church!
Pastor Nancy Ebner