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Death of a Seed

Out the back, in the Community Garden, the parsley is going to seed: it is growing tall and spindly and its flower heads, which have shot sky-ward as the days have grown cooler, are drying out. In the place of each tiny flower is now a tiny, kidney-shaped seed.


The seeds are dry, withered; the final gift from a plant that is soon to die. One of the gardeners rubs the dying plant and fills her fingers with seeds. She sprinkles them on the bare earth of someone’s plot. All around little new plants grow, tentatively unfurling tender new leaves, becoming stronger as they sink their roots down.


The seed is such a potent symbol: of something big growing from something small (“From little things, big things grow…”), and also from something living and green growing some something presumed dead. It is no wonder Jesus talked about seeds so much when he walked the earth: farmers who sowed seeds with great abandon, minuscule seeds that grow into huge plants that house strange birds and wild animals. And in this week’s reading (John 12:20-33), he talks about himself – and all of us – as seeds. Unless the seed falls – dead – all it remains is a single seed. But when it dies and falls into the earth, there is the possibility of something new taking place. A new shoot; pale, tentative leaves; roots burrowing into earth. Out of death, a new plant: which will produce, many, many, many new seeds, which will also eventually fall to the earth, be taken up by the wind and be carried in the stomachs of birds. Out of death, there is life, and life in abundance.


 I wonder…

·      What has died in your life? What has died in the life of the church? What has died in the wider community, and society?

·      Can you imagine these little deaths as seeds? What tentative new life might grow?

Words by Rev Andreana Reale

Image by Kay Pentland

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