Monday, November 19, 2018

green team talk :: bulbs roots beauty

• The Lord is with you!
• And also with you.

crocusThe church's year of grace will conclude nine days from now, and then we start another season of Advent anticipation. We count each day as we look forward to winter solstice and to the birth of the Son of Light we know as light of the world a few days later. People who follow the practical and spiritual way of the wheel of the year also yearn for light and excitedly anticipate the winter solstice; their celebration of the festival of Yule coincides with our festival of Noël.

For several years I've been following the 2-year standalone daily lectionary that's separate from the Revised Common lectionary. Specifically, I've been enjoying the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s daily office app that draws upon the daily lectionary for its scripture readings; this is the week of the prophet Joel. Most likely Joel wrote after the Babylonian exile. God's people already had escaped bondage and slavery to empires of Egypt and Babylon; now yet another empire, Persia, impinged on people's lives and freedom. Whether nation-state or trans-national industry, empires appear to be here to stay, so we need to learn ways to counter them.

21Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 22Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. Joel 2:21-22

In Joel 2:21 we hear the constant biblical admonition, do not fear, don't be afraid! This time Joel addresses what the NRSV interprets as "soil." The Hebrew language uses the same word for earth, land, soil, dirt, ground; which one it refers to depends upon context. In Genesis God gives earth to humans as a gift and as a charge.The earth of Genesis becomes the land of Deuteronomy. The land of Deuteronomy becomes the heaven under our feet of well-tended, carefully stewarded turf in promised land Canaan, and in our cities and towns, as well. Joel assures the land and the residents upon the land prairies will be green again, trees will flower, vines will yield abundance.

Maybe especially as days become shorter, nights get longer, we long for light that brings life, for beauty that's evidence of life. Did you know flower bulbs including daffodils, amaryllis, jonquils, tulips. crocuses, hyacinth, grape hyacinth {a green team member added iris, and then there's narcissus}, carry anticipation of new, eastered life within them? Those bulbs contain everything necessary for new life! That is, they contain almost all the essentials for new life. Everything except winter. We can provide winter for spring bulbs by placing them in a cold place for six or eight weeks. In the LA coastal basin or one of our inland climates, a fridge probably is the best option, though if you're in mountains or desert, the garage or an unheated basement might get chilly enough long enough. crocusHushed, quiet, still, chill of winter is essential to make roots that literally give the bulbs power to make flowers; winter temps allow bulbs to grow long, deep roots. When bulbs spend enough time in the cold, they think they've experienced winter, and they grow life-giving roots. Empires and struggles are here to stay; surrounding ourselves with beauty is one way to counter them.

In scripture, well-cared-for land becomes a heaven under our feet and produces food for human and critter consumption, flowers and trees for beauty and overall planetary health. Especially in the wake of out of our control disasters like the recent night club shooting and state-wide forest fires, we need beauty to keep going on with our lives. I'm going to chill some crocus bulbs so I can anticipate and enjoy eastered new life before the season of winter's technically even over. What's your plan?

To God alone be glory; amen!

Friday 16 November 2018 • Glendale

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