ISSUES OF FAITH: Sow the seeds of faith in spring

IS IT TIME to plant sweet peas? I’m hoping so, because I just did!

I have used March’s weather rollercoaster as an excuse to postpone quite a few garden cleanup chores, but I figured putting a few overnight-soaked sweet pea seeds into the ground wouldn’t be so hard. And it wasn’t and gave me a push to begin other more challenging yard work.

I love gardens and this coming week in the Christian calendar we will hear about another couple of gardens. The first is the Garden of Gethsemane, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, where Jesus will pray for a way out of the death he senses is coming. It will also be the place of Judas’ betrayal.

But there is another garden, too, we will hear about. Actually, a cemetery of sorts where Jesus will be buried after his crucifixion. The gospels tell us He won’t be there long.

In the Gospel of John Chapter 12, Jesus tells a very brief parable about planting seeds and how they have to “die” for a harvest to come. One seed buried yields a bounty from a single stock.

The metaphor is generally interpreted as Jesus foretelling his death and resurrection. The disciples didn’t get it.

Science tells us a seed doesn’t die at all when it is planted (if we’re lucky), but rests, miraculously germinates and sends up a sprout to begin soaking in the sun it needs to grow.

Musing on the metaphor of gardens and Lent a few years ago, I wrote the poem you can read below. I call it “Lenten Garden.”

I prepare the late Winter Garden in the

Cool sun of lengthening days.

I spade, weed, and turn the moist warming soil.

Herbs, brown in leaf but green in root

Remind me these dormant forty days will lead to

An interred three …

Then to the one of ecstatic green emergence

And new aromatic life.

I’m hoping my sweet peas make it. I worked the soil and didn’t plant them too deeply.

With the warmth of the sun, maybe it will only take them three days to sprout.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Don Corson is an Ordained Deacon in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the winemaker for a local winery. He is also the minister for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Forks. His email is

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