“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 (NRSV)
Sometimes people plant seeds without realizing it, and they help God bring to fruition something beautiful.
Many years ago, Debbie transferred to the school where I worked. She was in the seventh grade, and was shy, sweet, and kind. I don’t remember that she was an outstanding student, but she made friends and seemed to enjoy being there. After she went to the high school, I didn’t see her again for years until I became a Guardian ad litem volunteer (an advocate in court for a child). My first case was a family of four children who were in two foster homes. When I visited the first home, much to my surprise, there was Debbie with two of the children. She was a single parent who had decided that providing a safe place for children was something she could do. She was wonderful in this role, and soon we were able to place the other two siblings with her… four children under the age of seven plus an older one of her own.
There were many chaotic moments and challenges, but Debbie had a gift for this, and I was in awe of her ability and patience. Time passed, and the biological mother was unable to regain custody. By then the children had been with Debbie for about five years, and DSS approved her adoption of all the children.
It’s even noisier and busier in their home now because all are teenagers and involved in so many activities. Debbie is their anchor, and she knows how to love with wisdom, discipline, grace, and a terrific sense of humor.
Did she think about this scripture when the children came into her life? I doubt it. She simply and joyfully opened her heart and home to children in need. The fruitfulness of God’s love through Debbie is both ongoing and yet to be all it can become.
May God grant us courage to risk planting our hearts with others so that the fruit which comes will be pleasing to God.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
As our beloved young people,
about to choose their life’s vocation,
ponder how we are all called to goodness
and how the older generation
may leave a difficult heritage,
Lord, may you renew us
new wheat, newly sown crops,
fields still fresh from God’s hand,
children, youth, elders:
may we be a better world. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To become educated this week:
Inform your legislators and local public officials about the practical problems families are facing.
To cultivate growth this week:
Host a listening session/forums and invite affected community members to share their stories.
To advocate this week:
Advocate with elected leaders for immigration reform that creates a legal pathway for our immigrant neighbors.
Marilyn Boyce serves on the Conference Commission on Christian Unity and is a member at Swansboro UMC.