I believe that the community — in the fullest sense: a place and all its creatures — is the smallest unit of health and that to speak of the health of an isolated individual is a contradiction in family or community or in a destroyed or poisoned ecosystem.
— Thomas Berry
I’m still thinking about Dr. Tim Bruster’s sermon from last week on what he called “The Parable of the Soils.” And I’m especially intrigued by the metaphor of “soil analysis.”
It seems that what makes “soil analysis” particularly helpful is when we realize that analysis of soulful soil begins when we awaken to the heartfelt experiences of God’s grace and wisdom in the Spirit.
Instead of analyzing something objectively, we are called to know differently as we humbly and honestly open ourselves to listen. Though our ability to analyze is important and can be helpful, when it involves our souls, first and foremost and as foundation, we are called to let go of our ego in order to know God more deeply. As Martin Leathers has reminded us many times in recent years, we are to “take off our shoes” and become more faithful (trusting) to the mysterious Presence of the great I AM that Moses is said to have encountered in the burning bush. Our soulful soil analysis begins in the vulnerable and heartfelt recognition that we are always standing on Holy Ground.
Good soil analysis begins as we discover that we have what throughout the centuries has been called “ears of the heart” so that we hear the deeper callings where we once were deaf. Through heartfelt experiences of Grace, we see with fresh purpose and hope where our vision had been blinded by our ego’s busy distractions and compulsion to be “in control.” And if we take our spiritual life seriously and want to be faithful followers of the way of healing love that we know through Jesus the Christ, soulful soil analysis is just the beginning . . .
Our biggest challenge is that most of the fertile soil around us and within us is constantly being trampled and packed down in our culture of busyness and our inability to discover new and creative ways to keep Holy Sabbath Time.
There are many different kinds of spiritual practices that can help break open the packed soil, breathe new life into it with Sabbath rhythms and Wisdom of the Spirit, and connect us organically as a community. Mindful presence and spiritual discernment are what plow and prepare the soil that leads to new life emerging through our brokenness. And as a discerning, faithful community, we will discover more than a hundredfold of God’s crop of healing, life-giving Presence and blessings.
Let me know if you want to explore new and ancient spiritual practices to deepen your soulful soil analysis and mindful, prayerful presence. There are lots of organic possibilities just waiting for our curiosity and time.
Also — do you know about Project 44 and its amazing ministry related to organic gardening? Here is a link to this amazing ministry that we at FUMCFW are being called to participate in. And ask Andrew Mochrie and our youth about it. They have recently visited and have firsthand experience.
Grace and peace,