by Dcn. John LaMar
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
Ask any farmer and he will tell you that it is all about the “yield.” The planting of seed in the ground brings the harvest, the reaping of the bounty produced by the yield that each individual seed will give. Scientist work continually to engineer healthier, stronger plants and trees that produce ever greater yields against the investment of each seed or sapling. Jesus illustrated a great principle using the analogy of a grain of wheat. A grain of wheat planted in the ground dies, but in its dying it produces a blade, then an ear and finally the harvest.
Consider the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross, his burial and his glorious resurrection after three days in the tomb. Jesus is the lone kernel of wheat that was put into the ground that would give life to all those who would follow him. That proto kernel of wheat produced an important yield made up of his apostles and the other disciples. These in turn would go out into the world and produce yields of their own by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the meritorious death of Christ.
These first century disciples, and all those who would follow them, had to “die to themselves” that they might live for Christ and his kingdom. It was the second century apologist, Tertullian who said, “The blood of the martyrs is seed of Christians (the church).” How true the saying is. We, as individual and corporate members of the body of Christ, are inheritors of the Church that was born under the frequent cycles of great Roman persecutions that saw many Christian men and women professing Christ openly and boldly that they might be martyred for the sake of Christ.
How sad it is to see that so many Christians becoming so caught up in the belief that it is to our benefit and well-being that we have modern conveniences to make our lives easier, that we be quick to access every form of medication available to ease our stress, anxieties and fears that come from living in such a fast-paced and often frightening world. We readily eschew the idea of having to “do without” in a culture that thrives on consumerism and instant gratification. However, now is the time, more than ever, that we begin our Lenten journey following the ancient path of regular self-examination, repentance and yes, when desired, partaking of the sacrament of reconciliation. During this season’s Lenten journey let us commit ourselves to be the kernel of wheat that willingly and sacrificially falls to the ground that it may produce a mighty and blessed yield for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.
Dcn. John ministers at Trinity Anglican Church