Well the bank holiday weekend is over but we’re still in the period we Christians call Easter – one of the things I’ve been thinking about this Easter is this verse from John.
“It is a fact that a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die before it can grow and produce much more wheat. If it never dies, it will never be more than a single seed.” (John 12.24)
Now clearly there’s some real gardeners wisdom there, but Jesus wasn’t just talking about plants, and he wasn’t just talking about his own death on Good Friday (although that is certainly part of it) – he was, I think also talking about how we need to give up some of our own securities before we can grow as people – we must make ourselves “intentionally, deliberately vulnerable” (from the Rule of the Northumbria Community). But what does making ourselves vulnerable really mean? After all, surely few of us take pleasure in putting ourselves at risk?
I think importantly that intentional vulnerability makes us look at two key areas of our lives:
- Our willingness to learn from others
- Our willingness to dare
How far we are willing to learn from others, and from God, depends on our being honest about how we feel – and open to learning from the most unlikely people and situations. I am always amazed for example how much I have learned about my own fears, my own short comings, sometimes my strengths, and the total absurdity of much of what the world takes for granted by the seven years time I have spent with my autistic foster son Blake.
As for that willingness to dare – the sight of some very early strawberry flowers made me think that sometimes we have to dare to take risks as part of our being vulnerable. There are few guarantees in life and just like these flowers that have dared to bloom early despite the risk that there could still be more heavy frosts, even more snow …. still they’ve braved it all to put out an early chance of bearing fruit. Sometimes we need to take those first risky steps – uncertain perhaps as to where they will take us, what might happen – but always with that potential to bear wonderful and abundant fruit in our lives, and the lives of those around us.