Proper Ten 07/12/20

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Putting in the Seed

by Robert Frost

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.



Parables sometimes bring up more questions than they answer! The parable of the sower looks to be fairly straightforward (and Jesus even explains the meaning to his disciples), yet some nagging questions might remain. One of the questions for me is, what makes some soil good and other soil bad? Soil is rarely just good to begin with. It usually requires a lot of work and attention to make the soil good for growing. Colorado farmers and gardeners, especially, can attest that it make take many years to create the kind of soil where plants will take root and grow abundantly.

In the poem, the speaker points to a burning love that moves him to bury white petals from the apple tree to nourish the soil for the seeds he is planting. And his reference to soil being “tarnished” with weed indicates he may be looking ahead to more work and attention to help the new seedlings grow. Does the poem’s combination of love and careful cultivation provide clues to the spiritual version of “good soil?” In our relationship with God and our neighbors, cultivation may focus on a number of things on a continuum between contemplation and action (or vice versa!). It might include prayer, meditation, music, liturgy, working with outreach partners, or actions toward racial justice… to name just a few examples.

Questions for Reflection:

What do you wish to cultivate in your spiritual life or in the life of the St. Andrew’s community?

What would it be like to bear fruit and yield, “in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty?” What might that look like for the St. Andrew’s community…and beyond to larger communities?

Posted in The Still Point.