I planted more lupins this spring. Lillies too. Shasta daisies and Rudbeckia.
Lupins grow wild here. But, still I want more, I want the property overrun with them, all colours, pushing out the mulien, the thistles. The goodness pushing out all the rest. I want the roots to deepen and the seeds to fall and create new plants next year.
There are rules to follow on each package of seed. When to plant, how deep, how far apart, the type of soil where they will grow best. There are whole books on the subject (someday I will read them).
And it is the way our society works, we create systems to control and contain… and we wish, oh how we wish, that people responded like the seeds. That we could invest and be guaranteed a return. That perhaps, if we follow the instructions exactly, we will see fruit. The problem is people just don’t work like that. The problem is, of course, that people come with intense variations, some scarred, some even ground to a fine powder, and some with so much pride they cannot even see themselves as a seed, deluded to believe they are a great oak tree.
We used to get a lot of pressure to participate in things like the “Leadership Summit” or other Programs to enact on people. It took me a long time to know why the concept didn’t sit right, when so many of the people were brilliant and had so many amazing things to say. Our issue is this: there is an incredible temptation to fall into successful business plan as method of growing a church. This has never been the way of the cross, the upside down kingdom. Jesus was tempted to take control too, to rise up into a world-class Leader. He said No. So do we. Systems have never impacted the human heart in a positive way, and more education has never produced life change.
At this point in my husband’s ministry he often gets told to write a book about his methods or to become a youth ministry leader. He has no interest. He says this; “What we did will not work for you. Just create spaces for the Spirit to move and for community to form”. God is already here in our midst, already working in the hearts of the people in your path. Your job is just to help them see it. We have seen that people are moved by the Spirit, and by leaders and by community and these can happen IN SPITE OF a program, not because of it.
I wish I could tell you there was a short cut to this maturity thing. To this becoming a whole person in Christ thing.
No. We have to step back and remind ourselves that we are a people under renovation…that is the point of this thing isn’t it? The pursuit of wholeness, of understanding and humility bowed at the throne of Grace. It isn’t a linear process, this thing called life. It is the backwards and forwards momentum and the way we always choose to move towards the Cross, and our eventual and complete restoration.
Do you remember that plan of salvation image from a decade or two ago? You know that one with the cross as bridge to salvation? The one that made it seem like a once and final trek? I’ve been thinking about it lately. Of course choosing the cross makes your salvation secure, but what else? What about the dailies of this beast of a thing? To me now the bridge between completely broken and absolutely restored is progression. There is movement towards one or the other every single today. Life is never static, you are always building into your life…what are you strengthening? Your wholeness or your brokenness?
That is what we are dealing with friends. We were warned weren’t we? Some of us water. Some of us plant. Some of us till the soil. BUT ONLY GOD MAKES IT GROW. It is the most frustrating thing about ministry…no matter how hard you work, some soil will not turn, some seeds will not grow, some will grow like crazy for a couple of years and get burned by the sun. But we…we just keep tending our plot with all the bravery and integrity we can muster. We keep putting our roots deeper still expecting our own deaths to feed another upstart plant. That perhaps next season, more fruit will be born.
The lupins creep all over this place. Some sprouting up in the least likely of places, others dying off where I thought they would thrive. I just keep shaking the seed pods, considering the lilies. It is the very most I can do.
***Many of the thoughts today are inspired by Jonathon Martins book “Prototype”. Worth your time!***