Unless a seed falls and dies …

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” A guided meditation. (Listen.)

To make the most of this, set aside a little time, and allow plenty of time between the questions. When you are ready, relax your body; uncross your legs; uncomplicate your heart. Ask God to help you surrender to whatever it is that God wants to do in you or say to you today. Breathe slowly and deeply in, then out: remembering the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Breath, which moves between us now. Now imagine: You are holding a seed. Look at it carefully. What colour is it? What shape? Is it large or small, rough or smooth? In your mind’s eye, turn it around.

As you contemplate the seed, gradually let yourself become the seed. Consider how it feels to be this seed and no other; consider how it feels to contains so much life, so much potential, so much possibility.

Allow yourself to fall into fertile soil. Sense yourself sinking into the earth, to just the right depth. Make yourself comfortable there. Maybe have a little wriggle: settle in.

Around you, you can sense God’s good earth tenderly holding you. Sense the richness of the soil. Perhaps you can feel the movement of tiny underground creatures. Perhaps you can hear soft sounds as roots unfurl and fungi spread.

Sense the rain drumming into the earth, and gradually seeping down to reach you.

Sense the sun warming the soil, telling you it is time to grow.

Sense an unfolding within you, and wonder: What will it take for this seed to germinate? What do I need to let go of? Is there anything which needs to die? Let it go, let it die.

Now feel yourself cracking open, sending up a shoot towards the light. Feel yourself reaching, growing, spreading, transforming … from a seed into a seedling … from a seedling into a young plant … from a young plant into maturity.

What have you become? How have you grown?

Are you straight or crooked? Are you tall, spreading, or are you contained? Are you throwing branches everywhere, or are you cultivated, clipped, neatly pruned?

Where are you growing? Are you in a garden, perhaps, surrounded by flowers or vegetables? Are you on a farm, in an orchard? Are you in a wild place?

Are you growing alone, or are you one of many? Are you surrounded by similar plants, or plants which are very different to you?

Now consider your fruit. Is it fresh or wizened? Perfectly regular, or oddly shaped, blemished? What is its fragrance? Is it good to eat?

Are you producing in abundance, or in small precious quantities—or are you mostly barren? Has it been a long time since you have produced good fruit?

What do you need for abundant fruit, a healthy crop?

Now imagine: Jesus is coming towards you. How is he travelling? What is he wearing? Is he carrying anything?

When he draws near, offer your fruit to him. What does he do with it? Does he eat it?

What happens next?

Does Jesus tend to you, care for you? Does he say anything? Pay attention to any thoughts, words, or images which emerge, and let yourself respond.

Now rest in his presence; rest in his love. Notice what he notices; enjoy what he enjoys; savour what he savours. Feel the gentle breeze moving between you.

When you are ready, gradually come back. As you do, thank Jesus for your time together. Ask him to help you remember any word, image, or invitation that emerged from your prayer; ask him to help you grow into full and flourishing life.

And may the God of life bless you, may Christ Jesus tend you, and may the Holy Spirit sustain you, as you grow into the fruitfulness which God so longs to see. In the name of Christ, I pray: Amen. Ω

A meditation on John 12:24 by Alison Sampson for Sanctuary, 21 March 2021 (Lent 5B) © Sanctuary 2021. Image credit: Phil Hearing on Unsplash.

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