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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, October 20

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
—Mark 4:26-27

It is often said that the scripture begins and ends in a garden— the garden of Eden and the garden of Revelation 21, the new creation with the tree of life. In the middle is the body of Jesus, buried in the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Like the planted seed, Jesus rises and appears first to Mary Magdalene, who thinks he is the gardener.

Jesus teaches with so many images from nature—parables of seeds and weeds and growing, pictures of birds and fish and flowers, the mystery of planting and harvest; the wonder of a mustard seed turning into shelter.

There is also a naturalness to the spiritual life. When our being is planted in conditions that favor its healthy growth, when the soul has adequate light and darkness, nutrients and water, protection from pests or invasive plants—growth happens. It is a wonderful and even silent mystery.

Too much curiosity and "messing with" the plants can be damaging. We don't pull the plant up every few days to see how the roots are developing. We provide a natural, healthy environment, and growth happens. And trying to speed up the system just doesn't work. Farmers know about timing. No matter how hard you try, the cotton is not going to bloom until it is ready.

Grant us the wisdom and patience of the gardener, O God. Give of the wisdom to create for ourselves a healthy environment and the patience to watch with wonder as you bring us growth.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.