The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Garden Seeds Arrived Yesterday - Is Anything More Remarkable?

The mammoth striped seeds of the sunflower
create geometric patterns in the giant disk they form at maturity,
God's own Spirograph.

The rain was coming down in a slow, cold drizzle yesterday - and the first batch of seed arrived. The fragrance of sunflower came through the package. One variety is supposed to grow to 15 feet, and I will have some special compost filled holes just for them. Overall, the sunflowers will be a screen against the back fence, but they also happen to be a favorite of ours and our neighbor to the right - Mrs. Wright.





Nothing is quite like a seed, because each one is alive and ready to grow with the help of a little moisture. A true bulb is actually a flower with its own energy bar tucked around it. But a seed is far less developed - a baby with just enough food to start on its own in the battlefield of the garden, where birds and mice attack, molds help or hurt, and the early rain may fail.

My first lesson in gardening was learning to provide steady moisture after planting. Germination is not enough. The plants need to become established. Planting in Jackson Mulch is the best way to allow a reserve of moisture nearby, protection against water and wind erosion, and a supply of nutrition for the soil. All the seed and plants will go in mulched beds, except for new roses in the lawn, where mulch will be applied around the newly planted bare root roses.

By Norma Boeckler

Some of you will get out your 10 horsepower rototiller this spring and osterize your soil until it looks like rye flour. Meanwhile, I will just move aside a line of Jackson Mulch (shredded wood on newspapers) and plant in soft soil teeming with creatures. The soil creatures are eager to deliver food and moisture to plant roots, the champion (fungus) delivering the most for carbon credits from the roots.

Watering extra for the new seedlings will assure them a great start, and strength against early attacks by insects and disease. Watering also keeps the mulch rot going, since the decomposition of mulch has the effect as building a compost pile. Why not do both?



Stretch your arms out and make a circle, like you are measuring a bishop's tummy. That is how large the mammoth sunflower disk will be at maturity. The same musky sweetness of the seed will be powerful in the plant and flower. No wonder it drives squirrels and bees mad with hunger.

The variation in cells from the seed to the full grown plant is nothing less than astonishing. They specialize in root formation, stems, leaves, flowers, and seed. I doubt whether many gardeners are atheists, because too many things develop from that tiny seed to think man is the measure of all things.


Multiply this factory by the millions - at work in your yard.


The Word - Living Seed



The Word - Living Seed
The clergy and the denominational leaders - even some laity - are the gardener who received this shipment from the Burpee Seed Company:

  • Garden Planning Software - customize for your property
  • 10 bags of NPK fertlizer 
  • Peat pots - for seedlings - dissolves into the soil
  • Collapsing garden hose - 100 feet
  • 1 three-toothed hoe
  • Books - You Are Already a Great Gardener and Every Day Is Saturday
  • 5 cans of insecticide
  • 1 bag of fungicide
  • 6 bags of herbicide


And one very large invoice.

Didn't you order any seed? To plant?

"I am going to do that some day, but I need to get ready, to make sure my gardening efforts are a big success. They have studied successful gardeners at the Fooler Institute of Gardening - all them have these tools at the very least."

And they do not plant the seed, broadcast the seed, or even think about the seed as the Living Word.

Some sunflower seeds get eaten by birds, squirrels, and rodents. Some seed will be killed off by soil diseases. We do not know which ones will succumb to these threats. No seed is marked. But we buy seed to plant it since one seed can produce a plant 15 feet tall with hundreds of new seeds ready to eat and to plant.



Jesus knows something about gardening and the Gospel, since He is the Creating Word revealed in Genesis 1 and John 1. The Gospel Word is even more marvelous than that living seed, because it works through the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out God's will.

The Word is not marked any more than gardening seed is marked:

  1. This one will be eaten by a squirrel. Forget it.
  2. This one will sit in water too long and rot. Forget it.
  3. This one will start out well but get smothered by weeds. Don't even plant it.
  4. This one will produce hundreds of seeds - be sure to plant it.

If living seeds are so effective than a little order can turn a yard into flowers, food, and vines, how much more powerful and effective is the Word?

  1. To condemn unbelief.
  2. To convert blinded and hardened hearts.
  3. To comfort the grieving.
  4. To provide grace and forgiveness for believers?