Turn on the news. Open the paper. We see it every day and as history repeats itself, so does the brokenness and pain.
Violence, war, and refugees. Skittles, vitriol, and isolationism. Repeat.
Racism, division, and hate. Take a knee, shoot a man, and riot. Repeat.
Over crowded jails, underfunded schools, and broken communities. Corporate greed, disconnected parents, and political self-interest. Repeat.
What are we doing? Can’t we break the cycle? Can’t we change history? Isn’t there a better option?
Love, listen, and learn. Weep with the hurting, embrace the broken, love our brothers and sisters. Repeat.
“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” – Mark 4:39b
The wind is blowing. The storm is raging. The waves are crashing. The boat is rocking. The disciples are cowering.
But Jesus sleeps on; not a care in the world.
It is a dark time. It is a scary moment. Those in the boat, fishermen and laborers, tax collectors and zealots, men from all walks of life have heard the stories of sailors lost at sea. They knew men who went down with their ships in the course of earning their living. They’d comforted widows and orphans of fishermen who never returned. They’d retold the tales and shared the stories. And now they were living their worst nightmare. They were thinking of their own families they would leave behind. They knew they were the ones in peril.
To make matters worse, Jesus didn’t seem to be aware of their plight. He was oblivious to their condition. They were distressed by his disregard. They were concerned about his casual carriage. And they yell out of their fear, “…do you not care that we are perishing?” Not about to perish but perishing. Not heading for trouble but in trouble. Not approaching danger but in the middle of it. We Are Perishing! We are already dead men and you don’t even care.
Isn’t that how it feels today? The winds of racial divide are blowing. The storm of uncontrolled gun violence is raging. The waves of anger and hatred are crashing. Our global boat is rocking and we are cowering in fear, with no hope in site.
And yet, the master of the sea replies, “Why are you afraid?” The creator of the wind asks, “Have you no faith?”
He announced, “Peace” and there was calm. He rebuked the chaos and all was still.
Do you live in a state of fear or faith? Where is your focus? Are your eyes on the waves, or the one who calms them? Are you listening to the wind or the words that bring peace?
If you plant an apple seed, tend it well, prune appropriately and care for the flowers, you would expect nothing less than a good crop of apples. A cherry pit should provide a tree full of red fruit. A peach tree should only produce peaches. It is what is expected.
One would never look to an apple tree for a banana, or a palm tree for grapes. Seeds produce fruit of their own kind. We expect nothing less.
Yet, somehow, we are surprised when words of hatred, anger, bitterness, and violence are planted and do not reap a harvest of love, unity, and peace. How is it possible that we do not understand that the seeds we plant will produce its own crop? And are we unaware that a single seed, a lone grain once planted will produce a great number of seeds in turn?
One word of hatred does not result in one hateful act, but can sprout many. One act of injustice does not grow one isolated action but produces many.
Thankfully this truth applies to those acts of kindness, those words of love, those seeds of hope that we plant. For every gracious deed, many sprout. For every word of gratitude spoken, many take root.
We all plant seeds every day and the harvest we reap is the fruit of that labor, for good or for evil.
What harvest are you reaping today? What seeds will you plant tomorrow?