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Spring is such a time of promise and hope. Daffodils are rejoicing in the sunshine and brightening the rainy days. Magnolias are gracing us with fragrance and flowers. And there is much more growth and green to come.

If I could choose a flower seed to represent me, I might choose a zinnia seed. When I buy a $1.99 seed packet it feels empty. But upon opening it, there they are: a few tiny seeds with such potential.

I love those common flowers because they are hardy, easy to grow, produce amazing colorful blossoms that can be cut for indoor vases, and they keep on flowering the whole summer.

Butterflies and bees swarm to them for the nectar. And finches with their bright yellow breasts and black wings can sometimes be seen flitting amongst the flowerheads feasting on the ripe seeds. Zinnias provide food to other creatures and certainly bring joy to people who are privileged to grow them and see them.

What seed would you choose? Perhaps an acorn for strength and size, a tree that provides shade, many acorns to feed the deer, and strong wooden planks to build houses and fine furniture. Indeed, oaks that meet their full potential help many animals and human beings.

Or would you prefer to be a sunflower seed that will grow into a tall plant with a golden clockface that follows the sun. It will be food for birds and enrich our salads. As Ukraine’s national flower it symbolizes peace.

Perhaps you would like to become a rhododendron, the state flower of West Virginia also known as Great Laurels. They are beautiful flowering shrubs that grow wild and are also cultivated in our yards.

When Jesus speaks of the single grain falling to the earth and dying to produce much fruit, he is speaking of himself. He is the grain of wheat that will become bread of life for many.

Those Greeks, who were at the festival, wanted to gain in knowledge and perhaps they sought healing of some kind when they told Philip, who like Jesus was a fellow Galilean, that they wanted to see Jesus. Philip did not go directly to Jesus but instead asked Andrew to go with him. I wonder why, except that it is always easier to share and be supported by friends. Peter and Andrew went together to tell Jesus about the Greeks wanting to see him.

Jesus’ seeking glorification, something those people of olden days did not fully understood any more than we do, probably frown when he says, “Those who love their life must lose it and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Whoa! Can you imagine someone who has no knowledge of Jesus coming into a church, perhaps with hope of healing and understanding, hearing this paradox. They might turn around and never come back.

But Jesus persists and even though he wants God to save him because he knows only too well what is coming, he still intends to persevere.

“Father,” he says, “glorify your name!”

Jesus’s adoptive human father was Joseph, a good man, a working-class guy, a carpenter, but Jesus is speaking to the higher power he names father, Abba, as was his Jewish tradition. No doubt he wants to please his spiritual parent and make him proud.

But apparently, he already has made God proud since God answers, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."

The crowd standing there heard a voice that some thought was the voice of an angel but was to others like thunder.  Jesus tells them, what they heard was for them, not for him.

Those of us with a mystical bent probably heard the voice of an angel and those who are rational heard thunder. They all heard something real but had different interpretations and different perspectives.

Churches are places of diversity with people from all walks of life, with different incomes, with different educational backgrounds, with different sexual identities, with different ages from the very young to the very old.

There will always be different levels of understanding, some deeper than others, and different levels of commitment with many in the church who give a lot of their time through various ministries to support food pantries, homeless shelters, schools, hospitals and more.

Within the Church there are opportunities to be with people who might have different political views, different sexual identities, different ways of life, and yet we can all be together unified by that one grain, Jesus Christ, whose life, death and resurrection is the possibility of wholeness.



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