May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for
shall come home with
shouts of joy,
Carrying their sheaves.
I attended a wedding at our
meeting last week and it was a joyful celebration and at meeting the
next morning there were also many messages about joy. This brought
to mind the lines above from Psalm 126 and of course the gospel song
that it inspired. There are many links between joy and sorrow and it
seems that the two emotions are often experienced in some mixture. I
have tears of joy because I remember the times of pain. Likewise, at
my times of deepest pain, I often feel closest to God, so there is
joy in that as well.
But what came to me today
was the realization that it is only when we have been plowed up and
broken open inwardly that the soil of our soul is ready to receive
the Seed of God. At other times, the soil of our soul may be too
hard or rocky or dry to receive the Seed. But when we are broken
open, the Seed can fall in deep, and it can continue to grow, even
when the soil above it has been beaten down again and may be hard and
dry on the surface. As the seed grows, it brings forth it's fruit of
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
By remembering the times
when we were broken and hurting, we are able to respond
compassionately and lovingly to those we encounter who are broken and
hurting. By receiving, we are enabled to be generous. By being made
tender, we are taught how to be gentle with ourselves and each other.
So as Yamen's and
Bernadette's families spoke of how much they felt welcomed by the
meeting, and how the meeting felt joy at being welcomed into their celebration, I realized how much the meeting learned
about opening itself and surrounding people with love when we
accompanied our Friend Bill and his family on the journey from his
diagnosis with brain cancer to his death 6 months later. Out of that
time of weeping, we have brought forth fruits of community and
openness and welcoming and we rejoice bringing in those sheaves.
The world is filled with
brokenness and pain. But in all of that brokenness are the places
where the world is broken open to receive the Seed of God. In the
time of weeping we must also be sowing. We do not know how long the
seeds will take to germinate and grow. I remember reading that the
ground in the desert in the Southwest United States is filled with
seeds. There are something like 10,000 seeds per cubic inch of soil.
Because of the dry conditions, these seeds can last for hundreds and
thousands of years, each waiting for just the right conditions of
rain and temperature for it to germinate. Some require a short but
intense rain. Others, moisture over a longer period. The right
conditions might only happen once every hundred years, but when they
come, the seeds are ready. And when the time comes, we can rejoice
in the harvest and the increase, knowing that in that increase is the
Kingdom of God; knowing that in the increase the seeds are being made
ready for the next sowing.
Blessings to all,
Labels: joy, reaping, sorrow, sowing