An avocado. The vessel. That’s right. The fruit of the Spirit speaking from the kitchen counter.
During Lent, meditation and clarity often come in unsuspecting places. For Stephanie Darling, UK missionary currently on home assignment, it came from bringing avocado seed to bear fruit. Her reflection follows:
To germinate an avocado stone, you put four cocktail sticks around the middle of the stone and put it in a jar of water, balancing it on the cocktail sticks, so that it is half in and half out of the water. I had done this with one stone and placed it on the kitchen windowsill where I would see it every time I washed up. Another stone I prepared a few days later quickly germinated and started to grow, but with the first one, nothing happened. After almost a month I thought it was just rotten and moldy. I’d throw it out. But as I took it out of the water I noticed a crack in the bottom of the stone. In the crack, something was starting to grow. Quickly, I popped it back in the water and decided to wait.
I looked at this stone and thought about how hard it was at the beginning, that it needed to soak and soak and then soak some more before anything started to happen. It needed the goodness of the water to soften it and break down its barriers.
This I feel where God has us as we soak in his love, goodness and grace and allow him to begin to break down hardness so that hurt and pain fall away.
On a second look, the bottom of it was broken in two.
“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, produces many seeds.”
The stone had the potential to produce hundreds of avocadoes and for me it became a promise of new life. But it was also a reminder of new life to come. We must be broken and remolded. We die. We learn to trust, give up our ideas and plans and surrender ourselves to God’s love and grace, allowing him to work in our lives. Not always a comfortable process… but nevertheless one that reaps huge returns in the long run.
Over the next few days, I watched the stone grow. The root had to go a long way down before anything showed on the upper surface, before there was any sign of growth.
At times you see new birth and change, but sometimes you don’t see anything. Be patient. Deep roots go down into God and his word before there is any sign of life or change.
And such is Christ, the humble avocado stone reminded me of his willingness to be broken himself on a cross…a death certainly that has produced countless seeds for all time.
While Stephanie prepares to return to Malawi, she asks God for roots. Roots and water to nourish and heal lives that are broken. Learn more about SIM work in Malawi and check out HOPE for AIDS partners working alongside Stephanie. For the full series of Lent meditations, visit the Malawi team site weekly.