Thursday, October 12, 2006
Jesus Gets Dirty
One is that the seed that's cast around doesn't need a plot the size of a modern mega-farm to grow in. It doesn't even need a quarter section. All it needs is a big enough crack to put a little tiny root into. The seed may land on the most burned-over, dry, hard and stony ground imaginable, one that from our usual macro perspective looks about as lively as a concrete sidewalk, but this isn't your usual seed. This seed has a plan, and it has ability. It wouldn't surprise me if it even navigates to the one crack in an otherwise solidly paved-over soul. When the seed finds that entry way it insinuates a rootlet.
It's a patient seed. It's also effective: if it can grow at all, that growth changes the surroundings. Jesus' growth turns stone into soil, slowly, patiently. Given time, ground that once had just a few spiky, hard-bitten weeds growing among the rocks will turn into a garden.
That brings up the big question: What kind of plant grows in this new soil? How much control do I want over the process? If I control it, any plant that comes up will look a lot like the dead ones that already extend as far as the soul's eye can see. If I don't control it, then what do I turn into? What's the purpose of me having a mind if I can't direct my own growth? If I do direct it, my life becomes just one more lap around a familiar circuit. To open my stony ground to Jesus' loving hands is very difficult for me to do because such opening in the past has led only to hurt.
I have these visions, or models. One is of a pillar of stone projecting from a wildly stormy ocean. Nothing else is around. The waves thrash and batter, trying to bring down the stone. Emotion abhors intellect and tries to destroy its purity. I've seen it happen: lives immured in emotion go nowhere. People repeat the same mistakes. Emotion is an unreliable guide. Intellect is a lonely place, though. No real connection to anything happens completely rationally.
I'm just as suspicious of Jesus' plantings in me, but his way is far gentler than the sea-versus-stone idea. His way is also more powerful: I can always pile more stone around the base of the pillar to keep the waves away. The Holy Spirit's touch dissolves stone, and it's for a good reason. He shows me what he's doing, and tells me why. Still, the touch burns. He touches areas in me that haven't seen the light of day for most of my life.
The plant that grows, changes me. Its growth makes the soil better. I still see this change as a threat to my way of life, and it is. The stone comes down, but nothing really falls apart. God holds me in his hand, a touch unlike any other, and I can wait. Trembling, terrified, but I wait for the slow growth.
What's hardest to deal with, for me, is the outward change. I want to blend in. Being noticed is a bad thing because it leads to conflict and awkward questions. We've been over this ground before so I don't need to repeat the story. Jesus is in the business of lighting up the world, so any plant he grows is going to be dazzling. Dazzling isn't a role to play, nor a performance. It's just the kind of plant he designed, and it's what grows from the soil he has touched.
Thanks Larry for just allowing Him to use you to speak to me....it helps to know we're not alone, cynic or not, I'll take all the company I can find on the journey, don't NEED it as much anymore but will take it as it comes, the companionship that is...Thanks.....becky