I have a whole bunch of blog posts swimming around in my head. Mostly, I haven't committed them to actual words yet. So, in that spirit, I start this post with a picture. I don't have any deep thoughts to accompany it; I just thought these beans had wonderful colors. They came out of the garden as I was tearing out the last of the summer garden.
After the help of many friends and a load of compost, the winter garden is now doing its underground magic. There's something daring about starting with seeds. It feels much more dangerous and beautiful than seedlings from the nursery. And it reminds me that garden life starts with dried up, dead things: seeds from old plants and a pile of decaying compost.
Speaking of dying things, or at least, things dying to their previous selves, I've been taking note of the gulf fritillary that love my passionflowers, and enjoying their transformation. I caught this one in the act of making its cocoon.
Thanks to recent conversations with Colleen, my dad and others, I've been pondering the transformations that may be life-giving for the church. As I read the communion liturgy, proclaiming that Jesus Christ saves us from "slavery to sin and death," I mourn the way our own, institutional fear of dying seems to occupy much of our attention. As people of resurrection, I pray that we might trust more (and more fearlessly) in new birth.
And, as Colleen helped me consider just this morning over coffee, birth is not simple, clean or solitary. I wonder what it would look like for the church to put more energy into the life-giving, painful, uncontrolled process of helping prepare for new life and new birth? (Perhaps we should put energy into dying well?) I suspect our priorities would need to shift a bit, and that we'd need to be open to a considerable bit more uncertainty.
I wonder what our caterpillar is thinking as it forms this cocoon. Does it have any idea what life might be like on the other side?