Have you considered lately the condition of your heart? I’m not talking about the results of your latest EKG. I’m wondering about your spiritual heart as I wonder about my own. The other night I had a vivid dream that I was giving a teaching about the fertile soil of our hearts. When I woke up, I had difficulty understanding what this meant for me. Fertile soil of the heart sounds kind of strange, doesn’t it? But just yesterday the Gospel from Mark 4:1-20 was about just that and it made me think once again about my dream. Perhaps I needed to do my own heart examination. What did my “heart soil” look like? Was anything going to grow there this year?
As some of you know from my past blogs, I do not have a green thumb, and producing anything in my vegetable garden has been a real challenge. Right now the garden is winter bare. The dirt is frozen and hardened. But as soon as the weather begins to warm, weeds will immediately and wildly sprout without warning. Thorny brush is already present and there are mini Stone Mountains (rocks) scattered throughout. It’s going to take a lot of work to clear it all out in order to grow some tasty tomatoes. And it will take some work to till the soil in the garden of my heart, too.
Lately it seems there have been events in our country and in my church that have deeply saddened me. I am angry, disheartened, feeling helpless, embittered and my thoughts are sometimes filled with rage. Why is there so much evil? Why is there so much division and disregard for human life? Why are people so eager to destroy and slander another’s name and reputation? Engaging in conversation with another only seems to bring about more conflict, especially in social media. It’s downright frightening! So how do I correctly respond to this onslaught of negativity, not only within others, but within myself? I guess it’s time to till the interior garden.
First, I need to recognize what may be choking any seed that is planted. Those prickly brambles of impatience and selfishness and the weeds of anger and resentment with deep roots will need to be pulled. All the rocks of pride and judgementalism, which impede any spiritual growth need to go, as well. Secondly, I need to turn over the hardened soil so that a softened heart will allow the seed room to grow. Next, rich nutrients will need to be added, like courage, wisdom, forgiveness and prayer. Preparing the soil is indeed hard work!
I know it seems too early to talk about outdoor gardening when the air is frigid, but when we’re talking about the heart, now is the perfect season. So, dear friends, what will your garden look like this year? Let’s pray.
Lord, with the help of Your Holy Spirit, may this soil of our hearts become fertile so that it may produce abundant fruit. May the blossoms of joy, peace and justice be a fragrant offering in thanksgiving for all You have done for us. And may Your raindrops of mercy water and nourish the seeds You have lovingly planted. Amen.
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed feel on rocky ground where it has little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. He added, ‘Whoever has ears ought to hear.’” Mark 4:1-20