The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
Today’s Friday reflection is from Rev Anthony Hick, a Supernumerary Methodist Minister living in Kingswood, Bristol where he hosts Quiet Days and Creative Days at his cottage as part of the Quiet Garden Movement. He is a Pioneer Minister developing a peer support group for those whose lives have been turned ‘Inside Out’ through change or loss. He is Chair of the Whitfield Tabernacle Trust CIO which is transforming a Grade 1 listed ruin into a community hub that celebrates local heritage and its significance in the 18th Century evangelical revival.
JOHN 12:23 Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (NIVUK)
My late wife Rosalind was the gardener. She had the ‘green fingers’. I just dig plots over, build drystone walls and watch things grow. Since Rosalind died I’ve delighted in discovering what she planted, and been pleasantly surprised at what God has sown. I’m amazed at the variety of plants in my garden – all starting life from a tiny seed buried in the ground – some planned and carefully planted, others … well … it depends on your viewpoint: ‘wild’ or perhaps ‘natural’.
Following her death, I received nearly one hundred tributes to Rosalind; about the lives she touched, through her counselling, her artwork, her sharing of experiences; the hopes and dreams realised through her encouragement and enthusiasm. I realised that that had been her other ‘sowing of seeds,’ and now she has died, those seeds are growing and producing more seeds in peoples’ lives. That in turn has helped me see how my ministry has been about sometimes sowing seeds, without knowing the result – hoping those seeds may have produced many seeds. I don’t know. God knows.
And I think that’s the point of what Jesus is saying here. All the time we stick to the world’s values: looking after no 1, loving ‘self’ above everyone and anything else, then we become so self-centred we fail to bring life to others. When we let go and let God; when we ‘die to self’ then we can give life to others. That’s what Jesus did. And his death has given us life.
I was a trainee minister in Bristol in the early 1990’s. As I prepared to move on to a new appointment, I suggested to one regular in the congregation that she might consider becoming a church member. When I retired back to Bristol in 2014, I met her again and she told me she had not only become a member but had gone on to train and qualify as a preacher! That seed I had let ‘fall to the ground’ had died in my memory but sprung up into new life in hers – and all to God’s glory.
Creator God, Lord of Life, grant me opportunities to sow seeds of hope and joy in other people, even though I may never see the result of those seeds. Thank you for those who have sown seeds of faith in my life and made a difference to the way I have grown. Help me to follow their example and give glory to you. Amen