By Caroline Camp, Duke Divinity School Intern
Week Three: Genesis 1:9-13
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
Lent derives from the Old English word Lencten, which means the season of spring. In the Northern hemisphere, Lent is that time of year when the temperatures rise, days lengthen, and new foliage begins to bloom. Nature is alive again! The winter sleep has ended. In the historic calendar of the church, Lent is a special time for people to let go of practices that are hindering a fruitful life of faith, hope, and love. Like Spring, when we clear our gardens and prepare for a new season of growth, Lent helps us to set new intentions about following the way of divine love.
Lent is the springtime of our lives with God. The seed of the word of God was planted in our hearts. It has been there waiting to come forth and see the sunlight of life. Lent is the time to let God sow new seeds and tend the soil of our lives so that we might become more fruitful.
In Jesus’ earthly ministry, he shared his message and teaching through parables. When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Luke 8:11-15)
With God, we have the ability to plant seeds of faith, hope, love in our lives and in the lives of others. We are God’s field and we are God’s Creation. To bloom and prosper, we must welcome God’s planting of seeds by preparing good soil, pulling up the thorns and weeds, and watering our seedlings. We must prune back the weeds so that the goodness God has planted produces a hundredfold. Just as nature awakens to growth and new life, each Lent issues a renewed invitation to us believers to awaken to the Easter Mystery which brings hope to the world.
During this third week of Lent, we invite you into a time of active contemplation. Give thanks for the changing of the seasons. This is the last week of winter. Spring is coming! Celebrate the plentiful abundance of God through eating a meal of spring fruits and vegetables. Plant flowers that in time will brighten up your living space!
We invite you to take a picture of your Lenten practice and post on social media. Tag us at #LentatSpringForest to see how the rest of the Spring Forest Community is interacting with Creation.