Tuesday in Holy Week: April 11, 2017
Preacher: Juanita Pratt, Lay Preacher
Jesus realized the hour had come for the Son of Man to be glorified. And says to the crowd, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit.
Farmers know that seeds must germinate to produce crops. The seed must die. Must let go of everything it is in order to become something new and bear fruit.
We too must bear fruit by dying. We see death as final. Dying does not always mean a physical death. Death can also be emotional or spiritual. When we let go of things that blind and separate us from one another we die into the beliefs and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Dying means letting go of fear, guilt, greed, resentments, past hurts and the need to always be in control. By dying we ourselves grow deeper personally and spiritually.
We become believers of Jesus teachings and receivers of untold blessings. We die in many forms: our unfulfilled hopes and dreams, failed marriages, and other relationships. The loss of a job or loved one, suffering from a serious or chronic illness or a relapse from an addiction.
In June 1995, my husband had surgery that left him paralyzed. I spent the next 10 years gradually dying in my role as wife and growing into the role of caregiver. In April 2006, he had a stroke. In that moment, I knew he he would not see another year. He died December 2006.
During the months prior to his death, I could feel and sense the changes taking place within myself. It was God preparing me for something different. I was being transformed. Losing someone we love is difficult and painful and for some it can be devastating. It can also transform and free us to be who we are in ways, like the seed. Death can allow us to let go of ourselves and bear much fruit.
It has been more than 10 years since his death. I am finding new ways to bear fruit: spending time with family and friends, engaging in worship and ministries here at St Michael’s and swimming and exercise classes. Yes, I miss him. Still, I am able to live, grow and bear fruit.
Jesus’ final hour was also Satan’s final hour. With Jesus’ death on the cross the power of evil, suffering and death was broken. My husband’s final hour was the end of suffering and the beginning of healing and peace. Through his death, resurrection and glorious ascension Jesus provides redemption for the world. The fruit of His glorification becomes the seed of the church. When we die into Christ, we receive new life. By letting go we embrace the life God created for us in the grain of wheat. The grain that died and bore much fruit.