October 24, 2020

Jan Richardson: Blessing the Seed

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12.24)

• From a lectionary reading for Lent 5: John 12.20-33

• • •

Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent (March 25)
By Jan Richardson

The lectionary texts this week have set me to thinking about how God works in hidden spaces: in the inner being, in the secret heart, in the earth. There is work that God needs to do in us in secret; out of sight, away from the glare of day, removed from public view. Yet God has a penchant for revelation, for bringing into the open what is within us. God’s inward work is for the purpose of opening us outward. God draws us deep inside, then draws us back into the world to bear the fruit that comes when our inner lives are congruent with our outer ones.

Blessing the Seed

Image: Into the Earth © Jan Richardson

I should tell you
at the outset:
this blessing will require you
to do some work.

First you must simply
let this blessing fall
from your hand,
as if it were a small thing
you could easily let slip
through your fingers,
as if it were not
most precious to you,
as if your life did not
depend on it.

Next you must trust
that this blessing knows
where it is going,
that it understands
the ways of the dark,
that it is wise
to seasons
and to times.

and I know this blessing
has already asked much
of you—
it is to be hoped that
you will rest
and learn
that something is at work
when all seems still,
seems dormant,
seems dead.

I promise you
this blessing has not
abandoned you.
I promise you
this blessing
is on its way back
to you.
I promise you—
when you are least
expecting it,
when you have given up
your last hope—
this blessing will rise
and whole
and new.

• Jan Richardson

• • •

Used by permission. Thanks, Jan!

Jan blogs at The Painted Prayerbook


  1. Christiane says

    “Blessing the Seed
    ( Jan Richardson)

    . . . . . you must trust
    that this blessing knows
    where it is going,
    that it understands
    the ways of the dark,
    that it is wise
    to seasons
    and to times.”

    so beautiful, this

    it reminds me of the writing of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings describing Cross Creek, this
    ” . . . It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time…””

  2. Susan Dumbrell says

    This poem is so near to the hearts of many this Lent.

    We are not sent forth from the church service with the Blessing during Lent, just a commendation:-

    ‘Grant, merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Christ our Lord. Amen.’

    Bless yourself and leave the holy place

    So much joy for we who are witnesses to the Resurrection, blessings abound come Easter Day.
    I attache a hymn previously in French as a carol but so anticipatory of our Lord’s Resurrection commemorated in two weeks time.


    We are a Resurrection People!!
    Wait and Watch and Pray were His requests.
    Let us not be asleep like the disciples or the Bridesmaids in the reading a few week back.
    The Resurrection will occur, maybe not now but sometime in the future and we will see it.

    I have said too much.Take heart Resurrection People.

    (Susan, the one on Aust)

    • Christiane says

      Susan, your words are a blessing to others, I don’t believe you can ever ‘say too much’. Be encouraged! 🙂

  3. Susan Dumbrell says

    I can’t resist a haiku.
    The fields were blowing dust through the fields and into the sky.as I drove home from Church today. Rain is very much needed but the winds are hot dry out of the surface moisture .Much rain is needed.Too dry to graze stock or consider late plantings.

    The haiku I contribute can have two endings.
    Which one please??

    eagle over head
    red dust devils sweep the plains
    Wings of the Spirit.

    (or Winds of the Spirit.)

    I am sure someone will instruct me.
    No problem, that is how I learn.

    Blessing to all.
    Susan (in Aust)

    • Christiane says

      Hello Susan Dumbrell,

      I LOVE your haiku(s) and both endings fit well, I think.

      Sounds like you are having quite a dry spell. . . . . a drought . . . . . it is said that if ‘climate change’ continues unabated, our seasons will become more and more extreme and our storms will become stronger . . . . I think it may be time to consider how we have abused our home planet before it’s ‘too late’. Your thoughts?

      About that last line,
      thinking about your homeland needing rain, this came to mind:
      ‘Reign of the Spirit’

      Hope you get rain soon. Maybe we can send some of our ‘rain dancers’ over to you Aussies from our American Indian heritage.? At least they will do no harm as their heritage was one of honoring the Earth as their ‘mother’.

      • Christiane says

        Come to think of it, you Aussies already have indigenous aboriginal peoples who honor nature. 🙂

        • Susan Dumbrell says

          Thanks for your replies.
          I like your alternate last line too.
          Yesterday a wild bush fire tore through the small town of Tathra on the East Coast and destroyed 70 homes, plus other buildings and affected an aged care residence, a trailer park and public buildings.
          It raced so quickly people had no warning and had to flee, some to the beach.Fortunately no fatalities. 200 people were evacuated ahead of the flames.
          The winds yesterday State wide were wild.
          No rain forecast till Sunday.


  4. Christiane says

    looked up ‘Jan Richardson’ and found this beauty:

    “Blessing in the Chaos

    To all that is chaotic
    in you,
    let there come silence.

    Let there be
    a calming
    of the clamoring,
    a stilling
    of the voices that
    have laid their claim
    on you,
    that have made their
    home in you,

    that go with you
    even to the
    holy places
    but will not
    let you rest,
    will not let you
    hear your life
    with wholeness
    or feel the grace
    that fashioned you.

    Let what distracts you
    Let what divides you
    Let there come an end
    to what diminishes
    and demeans,
    and let depart
    all that keeps you
    in its cage.

    Let there be
    an opening
    into the quiet
    that lies beneath
    the chaos,
    where you find
    the peace
    you did not think
    and see what shimmers
    within the storm.

    published by Jan Richardson on her website: paintedprayerbook.com on January 24, 2012”

    • Christiane says

      those lines from Jan Richardson in this poem:
      “Let what divides you
      Let there come an end
      to what diminishes
      and demeans,
      and let depart
      all that keeps you
      in its cage.”

      they remind me of part of a poem by the step-daughter of my best friend who wrote:
      “Let me stop being that thing against which anything, everything, can break.”

      Maybe ‘being saved’ and learning to be ‘kind’ are somehow connected and maybe as Our Lord leads us into life, we will let go of our anger and destructiveness and leave it behind as though shedding a ‘shell’ that had imprisoned us for a time?

      I love any and all poetry themes that speak about the strength of walking away from doing harm in this world. Such poems, for me, are filled with light and bring conviction and then joy.

  5. Nothing worth having comes without cost, not even blessings. The thing about God’s blessing though is that when it comes to fruition the cost seems to dissolve into the ether. It seemingly costs everything but that turns out to be nothing.