God’s House | Seeds of Hope 2022

God's House | Seeds of Hope 2022

Jeremiah 7:23

Thus says the LORD: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.

As is sometimes the case, one spouse was clearly more religious than the other. This time, it was the husband who always wanted to go to mass. He would get up early to go to daily mass whenever he could. He never missed on Sundays. If he was sick, he watched mass on TV and more recently began to stream it via his computer.

The wife wasn’t anti-religious, but she didn’t feel inclined to go to mass each day, and many Sundays she struggled to pay attention during the services. She told her husband, “It’s just not the way I connect with God.”

The woman was an avid gardener. She loved flowers, vegetable plants, and trees. Even during the winter months, she was always growing things. She paid special attention to watering, fertilizing, and making sure her plants got the light they needed.

The man loved to read devotional books. He was involved in a men’s fellowship group at church and regularly listened to Fr. Jim’s Bible Study podcast.

The woman liked to go to garden club meetings.

One day, the man said, “I really think you need to pay more attention to your faith life. It seems to be slipping away. Why don’t you care more about God than you do your garden?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe it’s because I can’t see or hear God, but I can see my plants grow. I can hear their leaves rustle in the wind. I can smell their freshness. I feel alive when I am in the garden.”

“Well, you are never more alive than when you receive the Eucharist,” said the man. “It is the summit of our Catholic experience. You actually become one with God.”

“And what’s that like for you?” asked the woman.

He said, “I love the idea of God coming into me in a real way. God isn’t just an idea. The Eucharist is a tangible expression of God’s love for me. I become one with Jesus.”

She asked, “Does Jesus talk to you? What do you hear when you have received communion?”

“I don’t hear words,” he said. “It is a bit different each time I receive, but usually what I experience is a sense of peace. I find myself wanting to share that peace with others, to try to make the world a more peaceful place.”

“That’s beautiful,” she said. “It is not what I usually experience, although sometimes I do. Usually, I get distracted. I find myself worrying about all the things that need to get done.”

He paused before he spoke, and then said, “Do you get that sense of peace somewhere else? Do you feel like God speaks to you at another time rather than in church?”

“When I am in the garden, perhaps God is always talking to me—about how things grow so gradually, but then burst to life in a single week. I see colors forming, bees pollinating, and seeds sprouting. It is the place I have no distractions, no worries. It’s just me and I guess God in the garden. That is where I find my peace.”

Do these comments sound familiar? Is it OK to experience God more in nature than in church? Should this woman do less gardening and more church going? Good questions. They get to the crux of our scripture for today.

“Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.” We don’t get to pick where God speaks to us. For some it is in church. For some it’s not. I’m not saying don’t go to church. Please do. Participate in all the sacraments by all means.

And if you find yourself listening to God in the garden, that’s good, too. Many people feel closest to God in the woods, or walking through a field, climbing up a hill, or paddling across the water. Some call this The Cathedral of Creation.

The important thing is that you listen to God’s voice in your life. This lent, open yourself to God. Find the places where it is easiest for you to listen, to pray, to be with God. God’s house has a room just waiting for you.

Now let’s take 30 seconds to water the seed…

Watering the Seed

Where is the place that is easiest for you to listen to God?

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