I feel like I say this about every season, but I really adore spring. It’s kind of like the reverse of autumn, replacing the browns, reds, oranges and yellows with spring leaf green, purple, pink, yellow, blue, white… a rainbow of colors. The wind makes things exciting, the sun comes out to warm us, and we scurry out to meet it whenever we can. It’s gorgeous.
In my tradition, spring is all about the planting and the blooming. And if you’ve heard me speak at the last two quarters (autumn and winter), you know I love to use agricultural metaphors. And why not? Our ancestors certainly looked to the natural world to help them make sense of things and shape their lives. It’s a wisdom we modern folk often lose with our indoor lives and technology, so I’m grateful to have found a path that brings me back to earth. Literally.
As I mentioned earlier, I was sitting here last week listening to Kit’s sermon, when the song “Sowing the Seeds of Love” came to mind. I had frankly been procrastinating writing this week’s service and dreading coming home to put it all together. I wasn’t sure what I had to say until that song popped into my head. Believe it or not, I found a useful earbug! At that point, the seed of what I had to say took root and quickly bloomed into the shape of today’s service. I was inspired!
We all know the basics of how things grow from seed. I used to watch a British show called The Young Ones, and one of the cast members was a hippie named Neil. Neil was very earthy, as most hippies are, and liked to share, in his Neil way, the magic that happens with seeds: First, you TAKE the seed! Then! You SOW the seed! Then! You GROW the seed! Then! You REAP the seed! Then! You EAT the seed! Then! You EXCRETE the seed! Then, you TAKE the seed… and so it goes.
We Unitarian Universalists like to sow seeds too! I mean, there is an actual garden in our parking lot, of course, but we also sow seeds of love with each other. We sow seeds of justice in our communities. We sow seeds of strength and conviction. We sow seeds of generosity. We sow seeds of compassion. Seeds of humility. And together, we grow a vibrant, beautiful garden that is a beacon to our community.
In our tradition, the Spring Equinox is the time of the year when we take our first steps towards the goals we articulated at Imbolc, a celebration we have in between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. At that time, we think of what metaphoric seeds we like to plant in our lives. At the time of the Spring Equinox, we plant those seeds, meaning, we begin to take action to help new growth happen in our selves, our homes and our communities.
If you’ve opened up the egg we shared, you’ll see some jelly beans and a little slip of paper with a word on it. Words like those we’ve discussed today: love, compassion, justice, generosity, strength and so on. We invite you to find a way to “plant” these seeds into your life in the upcoming year. So as an example, if your egg says ‘compassion’, maybe you think of ways to invite compassion in your life. My personal recommendation is to start with yourself. Find compassion for yourself and then let it spread outward. Maybe it starts with forgiving yourself. Maybe it grows while you listen to someone who’s struggling. Maybe it grows while you work with someone who sees the world differently than you. Maybe tending the seed is a challenge. I think you’re up to it. And I do know this: if you plant it and tend it, it WILL grow. And then, as Neil so wisely tells us, you (and all of us) will reap and nurture, and leave another seed for someone else to take up. Mother nature loves a good cycle.
The point is, of course, that we can all extend the boundaries of that vibrant garden that is our community. Take it, sow it, grow it, reap it, eat it, repeat it!