- By: Pastor Betsy Dart
New life abounds this season. Farmers anxious to begin planting are waiting for sunshine. Soon the new sprouts will be popping up making the fields green with expectation of a new harvest. Soon nine of our young people, Austin Bahler, Nathan Birch, Cody Breeser, Bailey Brunsold, Allison Coyle, Laura Donney, Erin McKay, Matson Kiehne, and Ross Olson will affirm their baptism in confirmation becoming adult members of our congregation. Soon children in the Sunday School will celebrate another year of growth and look forward to the antics of Vacation Bible School. Soon those in the choir will lift their voices in song for a celebration of praise on May 19 before taking a break for the summer. Soon our seniors Andy Coyle, Bob Bahler, and ????? will be graduating and commencing new ventures in education and careers. Soon we will see God’s answers to our continuing prayers for healing and new life for those with cancer, chronic pain, broken bodies, and broken trust in relationships. Too soon we will be reminded of the blessings of heaven awaiting those in hospice. New life abounds all around us if we open our eyes to see God’s mercy and grace.
There are an abundance of hymns that speak of new life through the image of growing things. "Almighty God, your word is cast like seeds into the ground. Now let the dew of heaven descend and righteous fruits abound. Let not the world’s deceitful cares the rising plant destroy, but let it yield a hundred-fold the fruits of peace and joy." (ELW 516) "God, whose farm is all creation, take the gratitude we give; take the finest of our harvest, crops we grow that we may live. Take our plowing, seeding, reaping, hopes and fears of sun and rain, all our thinking, planning, waiting, ripened in this fruit and grain. All our labor, all our watching, all our calendar of care in these crops of your creation, take, O God; they are our prayers." (ELW 734) "We plow the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand, who sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain. We thank you our creator, for all things bright and good, the seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food. No gifts have we to offer for all your love imparts but what you most would treasure –our humble, thankful hearts." (ELW 680)
The theme rebounds from lessons with the land to the experiences of our daily lives. We plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of our young people. We nurture the faith that grows through the trials of adult life. We celebrate the harvest of wisdom and gifts of the Spirit in the souls of our grey-haired ones. In everything, God gives the growth. God supplies everything needed for new and transformed life in the death and resurrection of Jesus. God gives the miracles that lead to abundant harvest. "On what has now been sown your blessing Lord, bestow; the power is your alone to make it sprout and grow, O Lord, in grace the harvest raise, and yours alone shall be the praise! Oh, grant that each of us, now met before you’re here, may meet together thus when you and yours appear; and follow you to heaven our home, Even so, Amen! Lord Jesus, come!" (ELW 550)