There are times when a line from scripture opens up a path through other scriptures to a new place with God.
My most recent trip began with Psalm 1, a comparison of those who follow and delight in the ways of God and those who choose their own path, which is often destructive for themselves and others. The first are like trees “planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.” The second “are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”
Chaff is straw- withered, brittle stalks remaining after a grain harvest. Nothing like a tree. Trees take longer to produce fruit, but remain season after season.
Chaff is also the discarded casing around the grain itself. Wheat and chaff, for example. The wheat is separated from the chaff by throwing it into the air. The heavier wheat falls to the ground while the chaff is “driven away” by the wind.
This led to Matthew 3:8-12 and the sharp, prophetic voice of John the Baptizer. I knew I’d find references to the division of wheat and chaff, but also found references to trees and fruit. “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” (v. 8) Repentance means to do a u-turn, to do a 180 from walking in our own ways to walking with God. Our lives should show this change season after season in delicious (from the Latin words for delight and entice) and nutritious (life-giving) words and actions.
A tree must be nurtured to continue to bear fruit, just like our relationship with God must be nurtured. Presumption, apathy, legalism, entitlement, and judgmental attitudes bear no fruit. Barren trees represent a withered, brittle, barren being. The Baptizer reminds us trees can be cut down the same as crops.
The wheat theme led to Matthew 13:24-30, a parable of Jesus about a field of wheat and weeds. Life is a mixture of good and evil this side of heaven. We are a mixture as well. Will we cooperate with God to nurture the wheat or will we go our way and nurture the weeds? Will we embrace God’s patience with all that is in and around us, knowing we may not recognize it’s truth now, knowing there is still time for change?
Images of seeds, wheat and harvest led to bread which led to John 6, where Jesus reveals his divine person and purpose using the metaphor of bread. This is where my imagining opened my heart again to God’s great love and grace in Jesus.
Jesus- the seed of eternity sewn in a humble womb
Growing in strength and wisdom
Irrigated in water and the Spirit
Bearing much fruit
Jesus- cut down in a harvest of hate
Sifted in the wind of accusation and mocking
Broken between the stones of injustice and fear
Seasoned with spices
and salty tears
Covered in cloth
and set in a dry cool place
In time… risen
The Bread of Life
Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
And we come full circle to the water promises of Psalm 1. Wow!
Now, more wow. If we are followers of Christ, we become like our Jesus. The scriptures even name the followers of Christ his Body. Our journey is too one of seed, wheat and bread for the world.
Take a breath and let that nourish your soul. – Lisa <><
Jesus we want to be wheat,
But we are so often weeds
Sewn in self deception
Driven by winds beyond our making
Take away our bent to sinning
Our twisted torture
Our dry disorder
Plant us anew
Nurture us to fruitfulness
Harvest us anew
Deliver us from evil
Make us anew
Blessed and broken
Risen and redeemed
A meal of grace
For our hunger
And our hungry world
Click here for a collection of quotes on the theme Jesus, The Bread of Life
Reflection and Prayer: Seed, Wheat, Bread © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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Exquisite theological/pastoral reflection.