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Life in Greencastle - Extending Roots

I love being able to see the seasons change in Greencastle and to see the growth of spring. I was with some friends yesterday and they mentioned the same thing. They were appreciating seeing new life in fields and forests. And together we talked about what was coming up in the garden.

Many of you are having similar conversations. You’re watching the tomato plants reach to the sky, giving thanks for the first shoots of the corn coming up in rows, and hoping the rabbits don’t deforest your bean-plants during a nocturnal buffet.

And, even if you don’t have your own garden, you no doubt drive by the fields. You doubtless see the tilled earth even if you don’t see the hidden seeds.

Well, what about those seeds? Jesus, of course, found within them the rhythms of faith and life and discipleship: entering darkness only to emerge with new life (John 12:25). But, I was also reminded of another truth that plants teach us by another man, a philosophy professor named Dallas Willard.

As a good philosopher he asked a rather basic question in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines: How God Changes Lives. The question was, “What makes something alive?” And to answer this question, he turned to the wisdom hidden in seeds. His conclusion: “Life is inner power to reach and live ‘beyond.”

Life is inner power to reach and live beyond.

Think about it. That’s what seeds do. From that tiny seed, small roots begin to stretch into the world around it, taking advantage of life outside of itself to create new life. So begins the cycle of growth: reaching beyond to find sources of nourishment and strength.

If we are to have life and to grow, the same holds true for us: we must learn how to reach beyond ourselves to other sources of strength and nourishment. And with the coming of summer that is what many of us do. Our children put their bodies to play and discovery – reaching out roots of curiosity. The longer hours provide for longer evenings to tinker at our hobbies. And opportunities abound around us for to experience great art. The playhouse opens its season, Gobin and Robe-Ann host evening concerts. We read more; we spend more time on the lake or by a barbecue.

All of this is a type of reaching for nourishment, a seeking after life beyond ourselves.

This is a good place to pause and ask these questions:

“Where am I seeking nourishment?”

“Where am I looking beyond myself to be sustained for my life?”

“What roots am I putting out?”

When you consider the lives of people who seem to grow well and live well, you will no doubt find that they have managed to tap into the Life, Jesus Christ. I was reminded of this truth last week as a whole host of our community gathered to give thanks to God for Barbara Silander.

Barbara reached and extended herself into so many areas: art, literature, education, politics, social-service, and much more. And Barbara’s life flowed from her willingness to engage, to extend herself (body and soul) towards God, God’s people and God’s creation. It is a fine example for all of us.

This Sunday we will spend time looking at where we “extend” ourselves seeking life. And we’ll consider how frequently we seek to be connected with God, who is the source of all life and nourishment. Thankfully, we’ll also have the occasion to enjoy the Lord’s Supper together, which is a place we tangibly receive that nourishment from God.

In the meantime, may you continue to “stretch and grow” as that old camp song goes, and may God nourish you in all ways through Jesus Christ to the glory of God.



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