What we Sow

Reading

 

            Seeds of Change

 

    You’ve been gathering seeds,

    testing them out on new ground.

    Some take hold

    germinate,     grow within.

    Others fall away,

    finding fertile fields elsewhere.

 

    To ground your life

    To remind you of the connection to earth,

    the connection to the sources that nourish your body,

    your very self:

    Seeds.

    The Seeds of Change

    Heirloom seeds

    Organically grown seeds.

    Summer savory, crookneck squash, foxy foxglove...

 

    Glean the information from the packet,

    wait ‘til the conditions are right...

    Some you plant now, some in late summer,

    some you’ll hold ‘til next spring.

    (Packed for this year, they’ll keep just fine.)

    Walla Walla onion, edible chrysanthemum, jalapeño chili...

 

    Good work for your hands, your soil, your soul.

    Planting seeds...nurturing life...feasting at

    harvest...

    gathering seeds for the next generation.

    Mustard greens, eggplant, sweet keeper squash...

    Seeds of change.

    May you find in them the complexity of heritage

    and the deep goodness of life itself.

 

by Carol Hepokoski

 

 

Sermon

 

Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, there was a man called Jack. Jack didn’t have very much, or so he thought. He had a cow. He had a home. He had a family that he loved very much. They didn’t live extravagantly, but they were happy. One day, Jack took the cow for a walk and he encountered a strange man.  The man was dressed in a very fine suit and wore a shiny Rolex watch.  He roared to a stop on the dusty road in a gleaming new black Bentley and stepped out. Jack was immediately seized by craving – he wanted the things that this man had.

 

The splendid man from the Bentley said to Jack “I can help you young man. You see I have here a handful of magic beans.” “What kind of beans are they?” asked Jack.  “They’re magical subprime beans and with them you can become very, very wealthy – just like me” said the posh stranger. “Ooh, sounds good, said Jack.”  And he immediately traded his beloved cow for the beans.

 

As soon as he got home, Jack planted the subprime beans, and went to sleep.  The next morning, he awoke to an amazing sight: where he had planted the beans, an enormous and complex beanstalk of incomprehensible financial transactions had grown. Jack began to climb the beanstalk. After a short while, he reached a height where he noticed that bean pods were growing - breaking one open, he found that it was full of 1 p coins.  A bit further and he found 5 p coins. Before long, he was filling his pockets with one pound and then 2 pound coins and finally with larger and larger notes. 

 

When he had packed as much money as he could into his pockets, he crammed bills into his shirt. At last, fully laden, Jack climbed down to the ground. He showed all the money to his family and they quickly went off to the BMW showroom and, after stopping at a few stores to fill the trunk with new computers, mobile phones, and absurdly expensive trainers, drove home in a new 7-series sedan. 

 

The next morning, Jack, realizing he had spent all the money, climbed up the beanstalk again.  To his horror, someone was ahead of him - it was the BMW salesman!  And there, just behind him, were the trainer store owner and the pimply kid who sold him his fancy new laptop. Next to him were neighbours and all of them were frantically pulling money off the stalk.  Jack had to climb much higher this time, but again, he was able to fill his pockets. He climbed down and again, went shopping!  This time, they bought a few rental properties, a piece of modern art made from a shark in a tank of preservative, and signed a contract to have a £10 million house built right next to their old one. Jack was in debt now, but no worries, for he had credit! 

 

The next morning, Jack headed for the beanstalk.  There was a queue a mile long and people were fighting to climb on. When Jack finally got to the beanstalk, it was crawling with people. There was no money to be seen, so he climbed higher and higher. But no matter how high he went, the stalk had already been picked clean. Higher and higher they climbed, become more leveraged with each step. All at once, he heard a strange noise. It grew louder and louder. “Crunch, crunch, crunch” was the sound he heard. “What’s that noise?” Jack yelled to the people way above him. “It’s a credit crunch” they replied. “Don’t worry, keep climbing!” The beanstalk began to tremble and crunch still more. Just then, the intricately complex weave of stalk and stems and loans and debt came completely unraveled and fell to the ground, bringing all of the Italian-suited, Rolex-wearing climbers with it. As it landed, all of the money and the expensive goods evaporated into nothingness leaving debt and destruction behind.

 

Here we are in October and, this year, I don’t think I need Halloween to scare me. “BOO!” coming from a sheet-covered 10 year old or eery music and skeletons somehow doesn’t come close to the scariness of words like “Global Economic Meltdown” from the mouths of world leaders.

 

We are in a mess, and even if the big bailout approved last week in Washington works as it is intended to, it’s not going to work fast and it’s not going to work without a lot of pain.

We are now experiencing the results of a long period of greed and abuse. In many developed countries around the world, we have been through a period where we have been persuaded to believe that we can reap an enormous harvest of wealth by planting just a handful of beans. We didn’t dare ask how it worked or if it was sustainable - just kept climbing.

 

I am no economist, so I dare not get in too deep, but it has become apparent to everyone now that many economic assumptions were built on foundations as substantial spindly bean stalks. Mortgages were made to people who could not afford to pay them. Deregulation allowed clever bankers and others to create all kinds of new ways to work the financial system. The goal is to make more and more money, to get everything you want without a solid foundation, to have the car you can’t afford, the house you can’t nearly afford, and - since everyone else is doing it to - hope that it’s all going to be OK somehow.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

 

Millions seemed to believe that they could reap far out of proportion to what they had sown. The enormous turmoil in the world’s economic markets remind us now in a not so gentle way that they - or we - could not have been more wrong.

What happens now? With the allure of the beanstalk of riches in ruins on the ground and a lot of suffering yet to come, where do we go from here?

 

Perhaps we will frantically begin looking for new magic beans - new ways to game the system - to get something for nothing. But maybe, just maybe, now we will return to a world that is saner. Having seen the illusion of getting something for nothing burst like so many housing or dot-com bubbles, perhaps we will begin to look toward something else - something of lasting meaning. 

 

And of course, that is why we are here. The magic beans and their glittering alluring promise have not worked for us. We have seen that there is more - that love is a lasting treasure that is worth planting, watering and cultivating. We have come to learn what seeds to plant and how to care for them. We have come to learn what harvests are worth seeking.

 

And we have come to know that we can never be sure of the harvest - only of the seeds and how we care for them; and this we call faith.

In this place, we join together as gardeners to tend to the delicate seedling of hope in each heart. It is by creating the right environment – the fertile ground – this warm and nurturing community – that the seeds we plant can grow to their full potential bearing the fruits of the better life we seek for all beings.

 

Let us now enter into a shared time of stillness to reflect on the gardening of our lives and our spirits - the gardening that we do for ourselves, for those close to us, and for the world. What are the harvests that you seek?  What seeds are you planting and tending? Will the seed you plant yield the harvests you long for?  

 

Time of silence

 

And now, in this sacred space – a place of trust and acceptance – of nurture and growth – I invite you to speak out some of your seeds and your hoped-for harvests. Please speak briefly from where you are sitting.  You can phrase your words however you like, but you may find it helpful to put it like this: “I plant seeds of compassion to harvest relationship” or “I plant seeds of listening to harvest greater understanding.”

 

You are welcome to speak when you wish and you may speak more than once.

 

[Participation]

 

May the great spirit of love that is around and within us bless these words and each of our intentions. May we each plant with wisdom, tend with love, and harvest with gratitude.