The Colors of Hope by Richard Dahlstrom

The new book by Seattle pastor Richard Dahlstrom just recently hit the shelves. Check out this excerpt from the chapter titled ‘Art in the Garden-So Sow…‘ from this new book ‘The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice and Love‘:

“…I met a man once at a hot springs, high up in the Cascade Mountains, who’d been hiking the five-mile trail to visit this same place every summer for the past seventy years. He was eighty-four. I was intrigued that he always came to the same place, because I get bored easily and like to visit new spots all the time. When I asked him about it he said, “I don’t come to the same place every year. This place is always changing. I see differences every time I’m up here. Look over there.” He points out a tiny fir tree, maybe six inches high. “That was new last year, but the year before that it was a seed- growing and alive, but hidden. That’s the way it is. There’s always life happening up here, but a lot of it is tucked away. Most people don’t see anything, because they’re looking for big thrills, like seeing a bear.” He points out lichen that’s grown, branches that have fallen, nests that have been  built or abandoned. “Bears are fine, but the real action is in the soil.”

That’s what Jesus said too:

“Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked  them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

This farming and gardening stuff is wholly unspectacular work, but both Jesus and the old man in the forest are on to something: in the midst of unspectacular familiarity, sown seeds are laying the foundation for big changes. It requires faith to drop some seeds in soil and then just wait. Cheering and checking on the health of the seed won’t make it grow any faster. Neither will marketing campaigns or social networking programs. But seeds, faithfully sown, will find some good soil now and again, and the combination of good seed, good soil, and the Giver of Life is a winner. Fruit happens.

“If we’re to be artisans of faith we need to weaned away from our addictions to the spectacular and realize instead that simply showing up, day after day, and creating splashes of beauty and grace will eventually bring fruit.”

Follow Richard here.

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(Editor’s Note- Disclosure: Sustainable Traditions receives free books including the book excerpted above. SustainableTraditions.com is an independent website free to express opinions, reviews and excerpts unhindered by any contractual requirements to any publishers or organizations.)

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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