Lenten Lessons from Plants: Old First E-pistle, 02.07.2013

Lenten Lessons from Plants: Old First E-pistle, 02.07.2013

[Editor’s Note: Pastor Michael is on vacation this week, so we have a guest e-correspondent, Laura Spencer.]

I ran out of my usual brand of multivitamin supplement the other day, so I took one from the jar of my wife Kim’s. It was a pretty lavender color, and its jar label declared that it was formulated specially for women over 50. I qualified, albeit by only a few months, so I swallowed it. Taking it made me think about life and health and the meaning of it all.

Both my parents are still alive, as are Kim’s. None of them is in good health. Keeping tabs on my parents (by phone, for the most part), and watching Kim do her part (by phone and in-person) in seeing to her parents’ care and well-being, led me to marvel at what modern medicine has wrought.

For a society that worships youth and health, we work awfully hard to keep ourselves alive far beyond a time and state in which we can embody those things. Some days I wonder why we do that. Today, I’m wondering what God might say about that.

The life force is a strong one, and from where I sit, appears to measure its quality in ways I don’t grasp well yet.  One of the places I sit a couple times per month is on the Chestnut Hill West train. I pass many long-abandoned factories on my trips. What I notice are the grasses and plants that make their home in the ruins. I see sprigs of green or tan anchoring themselves in cracked asphalt or crumbling mortar, with the most robust – or is that parasitic? – embracing the brick or stone or metal siding. Give these plants enough time, and they will completely take over the building.

A plant that even a little child could tear to pieces is somehow strong enough to outlive a big, tall, strong building made of stone and steel; and claim the space where it once stood.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there about the strength made perfect through weakness. Maybe there a lesson in there about the power of the life force, even in the teeth of death and decay. Maybe there’s a lesson in there about tenacity and patience, or strength in numbers. Maybe there’s a lesson in there about the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

May God bless you this Lenten season.

~ Laura