April 2016 Volunteers Reflection
By Tim Deveney
“We profess to be people of peace, Lord, but keep us from the temptation to proclaim peace when there is no peace. Show us today where peace is most needed in our community and in our world. Show us which of us must plant the seeds of peace, which of us must water them, and which of us must yet become gardeners of your peace. Amen.”
Claiborne, Shane; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Okoro, Enuma (2010-11-09). Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 255). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I’ve always appreciated the imagery of seeds and plants in the Bible. Through the years I’ve grown closer to this imagery. There is something amazing about a small inanimate object with the power to provide nourishment, shade and beauty. From these seeds and only a little work on my part, my garden has produced food for my family and others. Gardening can be a frustrating hobby. Here’s my laundry list of factors, mostly outside of my control, that have led to epic failures in my backyard garden. These are conveniently broken down for you into two categories:
- I had a strawberry crop almost decimated because of snow in May a few years ago. Seriously, snow in May in Kansas City.
- The summer of 2012 had the worst drought in ages. I barely got anything out of my garden and it killed the two grapevines I bought and planted in the spring. I thought it had also killed the rhubarb I had planted at the same time. (By the way nothing kills rhubarb. If there is a nuclear war I am certain the cockroaches will be feasting on the rhubarb.)
- One summer we had too much rain and some of my plants were overwhelmed by the consistent wetness.
- The squirrels take bites out of my tomatoes and taunt me by leaving the once bitten tomato in my path to the car.
- Asparagus beetles love to gnaw on my asparagus. I’m shocked a bug named for a plant would love to eat that plant.
- Squash bugs have prevented me from ever having a decent harvest of pumpkins or other squash. I strive to avoid the use of pesticides and I don’t have the time to remove them by hand. So I’ve given up on the Cucurbita family of plants.
- Rabbits love to eat the leaves on my peas. I shouldn’t complain about the rabbits since they eat the lower leaves of my basil plants and for some reason the removal of leaves from the basil encourages growth. So I guess this is a push.
- I planted apple trees a few years ago. Last year (2015) one of these trees had fruit all over it. I was so excited by the possibility of a bumper crop and then, right before they got ripe, the apples were gone. I cried. I’m going to blame the squirrels. I used to love the little buggers.
Like the bugs, the squirrels, the rabbits and unfortunate weather in my garden there is much in the way of God’s peace in our world. Divisive rhetoric, poverty, racism, selfishness, misogyny, overuse of our natural resources, homophobia and violence have gotten in the way of God’s peace in our world.
God’s peace is beyond our control, beyond our imagination and beyond what humans can give. Some of us are called to plant the seeds of God’s peace in our world. Some of us are called water and care for the peace coming forward from these seeds. In the end we have to trust in God’s slow work in our world, knowing that the seeds of peace will bear fruit to nourish us, grow branches and leaves to provide shade and refresh us with the clean air of God’s peace.
Questions for Reflection
- What are some of the ways you have planted “seeds of peace” in the world?
- How have you helped care for God’s peace?
- What are some of the “seeds of peace” you have seen planted in your life?
- Where have you seen the fruits of God’s peace?
Learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers on our website www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org