“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains.” James 5:7
We’re in the darkness of winter in the northern hemisphere. It’s when the earth receives nourishing snowfall and what Navajo call “female rain.” Annual plants have died. Leaves have fallen, and perennial plants have retreated to the ground. Winter moisture helps the soil biome turn their death into life. Seeds grow in the fertile darkness of soil. Bushes and trees push their roots further into the soil, preparing for new growth in spring. It all happens in Earth time.
Earth time demands the spiritual discipline of patience. It’s an active form of waiting. In this coming Sunday’s reading from James, the farmer prepares the soil and plants the seeds while also accepting growth will happen in its own time. Like the farmer, I’m called to do what’s been put before me to do, with patience, especially when the injustices around me seem unceasing.
Earth time reminds me that God’s story is larger than me. God is constantly making a way out of no way, creating life from death, and healing in unexpected ways. It’s the hope embodied in the baby we celebrate on Christmas and whose return we long for. It reminds me that justice will happen, even if I can’t see how or when.
Prayer: God of death and life, give me patience to do the work you’ve set before me to do, when the surface of the soil appears dead, bare, and cold, trusting you to bring forth new shoots of justice in your time. Amen.
Deaconess Katrina Martich, Spokane, WA