In 2009 my brother gave me a website for my birthday. I named it Tarella Spirituality, in memory of the Mallee country space and silence that surrounded my long-gone grandparents’ farm. Unlike my ancestors, I’ve never sown a paddock with wheat or barley seed, but I do see myself as a kind of seed planter – planting spirituality seeds, and it’s Jesus’ seed parables like the one below that keep me going when my Tarella Spirituality seeds float away from my edgy space and into the everlasting space that is the internet.
The sower went forth to sow.
and some seed fell on the wayside
Some fell amongst thistles
Some fell on stony soil
Some seed produced a fine harvest and some gradually withered in the hot sun.
Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain. (Matt. 13:4-9)
The thing about planting seeds is the uncertainty of it all. As I watched the TV footage of banner-waving women calling for a stop to sexual violence against women in this week’s Women’s March 4 Justice, my mind wandered back through the long line of women, mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, memorable teachers and women who broke barriers, right down to women across these country who had gathered to demand justice and equality for themselves and their daughters and grand-daughters.
Only God knows what will come from similar seeds that have been planted over centuries of oppression. Will the soil of custom and indifference that we live in begin to break up and those long planted seeds sprout and green into a more equitable and non-violent world. I hope that they will not lose heart, not get tied up in set-backs and frustrations, and gradually wither away.
A while back Clarissa Pinkola Estes said something that I have found heartening in the face of political, legal and religious pressures that have squashed similar demands in the past. Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. We are built well for these times. Despite stints of doubt, your frustrations in righting all that needs change right now . . . we are not alone.
Seed-planting is collaborative: God, you and I, do it together. It’s not just about justice and equality for women in all walks of life, or the place of women in one of the last strongholds of male power – the Catholic Church. It stretches across to loving care for the aged and disabled, a whole-hearted acceptance of the debt we owe to Australia’s Aboriginal population, and an open-armed welcome for people who have fled war and terrorism. The seed planting goes on.
An Arab proverb says: Every morning I turn my face to the wind and scatter my seed.
Now, it is not difficult to scatter seeds, but it takes courage to go on facing the wind.
And Jesus the seed-planter said, ‘A man throws the seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing, how, he does not know. ‘
And the sower went on sowing.
Judith Scully ( firstname.lastname@example.org)