Stomping Bluebonnet Seedsby Fr. Daniel+ on November 17, 2021
“…these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20).
This Sunday after worship, we’re going out into St. Liz’s front yard to stomp bluebonnet seeds. Now if you’re like me, this sounds like an odd way to plant anything, let alone flowers. But apparently the bluebonnets themselves like it just fine, and it’s a good way to get the seeds planted. It pushes them down into the ground just enough, and maybe it starts the work of cracking open that outer shell so many seeds have. However it works, exactly, I imagine that, in His providence, God made the wild places so that seeds aren’t bothered but are actually helped when critters of various kinds come by and stomp on them with paws or hooves or claws anyhow—so why not cowboy boots or stylish clogs?
I’m excited to try it, and I hope you are, too. (Also, there will be cookies!) In future months and years, hopefully whole swaths of our front yard will be full of bluebonnets.
I imagine it’ll be a symbolically rich act, too, this stomping. Many of us will be bringing our pledge cards on Sunday, which is, after all, just another way of sowing seeds. In making a financial commitment here and now, we’re sowing the seeds of future blooms.
For me, there will be more than that going on, though. This Sunday (Nov 21) is Christ the King Sunday, which is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. This year, of all years, there’s something powerful about going outside to stomp bluebonnet seeds on the last Sunday of the Church calendar. We’ve spent a lot of Sunday mornings outdoors together over the past year and a half. It's fitting to have our last ‘liturgical act’ of this Church year be outdoors. In all the years after this one, whenever we see these bluebonnets, we’ll remember this particular season of worshipping on the lawn. Whenever we see these bluebonnets, we’ll remember that, despite everything, we planted seeds. We made a conscious decision to end the year looking forward. We choose hope.
I’ve never stomped a seed of any kind, but I honestly wonder if there’s something powerful not just in planting these seeds but specifically in stomping them. I kind of hope it’ll be not just fun, but also cathartic. Everyone has lost a lot. Everyone has carried around resentments and frustrations and disrupted relationships and expectations. I wonder if stomping these bluebonnet seeds will be a way to begin burying all of that. I wonder if this Sunday might be a small way of choosing to surrender all that is unresolved and unwanted from Coronatide so that it can enter the long quiet of the earth and die—and through that death, be raised and redeemed by God.
There’s something defiant about stomping, too, and something playful. We stomp both when we’re being stubborn and when we’re line dancing. A stomp is both a rawr! and a yeehaw! It is, in a word, Texas. That combination of stubbornness and playfulness will serve us well as we reclaim and rebuild after the long season of having to put pandemic things first.
Finally, this Sunday will be our final Sunday reading Mark together before we start a new lectionary cycle in Advent. It’s been a gift reading this Gospel together straight through, both on Sunday mornings and with the Wednesday bible nerds. Many weeks ago, we read Mark’s parable of the sower, which is a good passage to help us interpret so much of what else is going on in Mark’s Gospel. You know the passage: “Listen! A sower went out to sow…” (Mark 4:3). The sower is extravagant with the sowing. Seeds on the path, amongst the thorns, rocky soil, good soil—thousands upon thousands of seeds.
As we read the Gospel, we begin to notice that different folks respond to Jesus, the Sower, in different ways. The rich man in chapter 10 goes away grieving, because his concern for his possessions chokes out the Word before it can really grow (Mark 10:22 and 4:18). Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, on the other hand, receives the Word like good soil and soon inspires a whole crowd to cast their cloaks before Jesus and cry “Blessed is the coming of our ancestor David!” (Compare Bartimaeus’ action in Mark 10:46-52 to the crowd as Jesus nears Jerusalem in 11:7-10). The good soil of someone like Bartimaeus bears fruit.
There has been a lot in the past couple years, both as individuals and as a congregation, that’s felt like we were getting stomped on. The good news, friends, is that, by the grace of God, even the stomping bears fruit. In soil as good and as faithful and as playful as St. Liz, God redeems even the stomping with the slow change of seasons. Soon it’ll be bluebonnets, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.
So, I hope you’re able to worship with us in person this Sunday, and that you’ll stay afterwards to play in the yard for a few minutes.