My mother likes to tell a story of when I was young -about six or so - and threw handfuls of marigold seeds around our garden. She and her neighbour had carefully planted their own seeds in the garden bed earlier in the day, covering them with dirt and watering them in, unlike mine which sat willy-nilly on top of the soil. As the season passed, would you believe it, but the ones my mother had planted were scarce, but everywhere I'd cast the unlucky seeds, they'd taken root and burst into life and the result were clustered smatterings of sunshine-coloured blossoms all over the yard.
Why is it that we can work so hard, so diligently on something and see little result; at other times we cast out our 'seeds' and they burst to life before they've even landed? Can you relate? Or perhaps it is someone else's blooms you have watched and wondered about, holding your own seeds in your palm or fretting over the ground where you carefully planted them. Perhaps you are uncertain if you have any seeds at all.
The magic of gardening is that it can be quite unpredictable. The soil composition, the time that the seeds are planted, the amount of light and shade and frost that they may or may not receive all become factors in their ultimate success. Some have a thumb as green as pea soup, while others of us...well, let's just say that my own thumb, if it had to be colour-coded, resembles that irky shade of three-day old avocado...but even so, I managed to grow those marigolds and a mean parsley bush one year, too.
Jesus spoke in analogies a lot. He also spent time in gardens. He used trees and plants and flowers and fish to reveal stories of the Kingdom of Heaven. Much of His message was misunderstood by it's hearers; even today there are great deep treasure wells in His language, just waiting to be discovered. And yet how the veil of time, of our own misunderstandings, trials and troubles can shadow the light that His message sought to reveal.
The kingdom of heaven - that great unseen rule that would strike history in two, even as the death of Christ tore the Temple veil right down the middle - that kingdom like seed cast on the various grounds. Some rocky, some thorny and some fertile and rich. The kingdom is in the seed. Press your ear to it and you will hear the rhythm of creation and Creator; let it fall and watch what it will produce.
Seeds aren't easy to identify. It's not until they sprout that we find the evidence; that we discover what species, what shape, what season, what mystery is unfolding before us. And the gardener knows it's not really them that is doing the growing. They are only making the right environment through which the real magic unfolds.
What will it grow in you?
"As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it.
He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold,
in another sixty, and in another thirty."