From Riki Schoppert, Director of Worship Arts …
The lyrics from the song “Seasons” from Hillsong have been banging around in my head for the last several months. At the beginning of the pandemic when we were told to stay at home, it was this line: “Oh how nature acquaints us with the nature of patience.” Patience has never been my strong suit, but I needed to develop some right quick or I was going to lose my mind. In my long, uninterrupted hours passing time on the internet, I came across a video where the artist was talking about how that song came into being. When he was a teen, his family went on vacation to northern California and he experienced the enormity of the sequoias that grow there. These trees are among the tallest and oldest living things on the earth. At over 100 meters tall and nearly 2000 years old, not much else can compete. And it can tell you something about patience, because 2000 years ago, they were just seeds. They did not reach those heights overnight. As an adult, he remembered that trip and wondered what kind of seeds God was planting in his life that he just had to be patient enough to recognize and let come to fruition. I feel that keenly right now. What kind of seeds has God been planting over the last few months, the last few years, the last few centuries?
When the country erupted in pain again, catalyzed by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (and more unnamed here), it was a different part of the song that resonated. “Though the winter is long, even richer the harvest it brings.” One thing about sequoias, as well as many other types of plants, is that they need the cold of winter to reach their full potential. This country has been simmering with racial tensions for a long time. I expect it has seemed like a very long winter to people of color, a centuries long winter. But based on what I am seeing and reading, maybe some seeds are growing. More people seem to be listening now than ever before about the pain felt by people who don’t look like them. Perhaps this is a sign of spring. Because we are also seeds, planted by the Father, and properly tended we can grow. Justice is a seed, planted by the Father. It will grow and mature if we properly tend it. So I’m going to listen, pray and act for justice. And the song says: “For all I know of seasons is that You take Your time. You could have saved us in a second, instead You sent a child.”
Patience is not the same thing as just waiting, though. Planting, growing and harvesting all require work. Ask any gardener or farmer. God may plant the seeds, but we have to tend them. And we have hope that there will be a harvest. This is the call of the Christian: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8