I had a good talk with my husband yesterday evening and while I was sitting in church today some more thoughts came to mind. Our large congregation includes many young families. Most Sundays my attention to the service is interspersed with noticing the children's antics and parents doing their best to love and care for them.
In our backyard I have had a flower garden for many years. There are a few annuals and many perennials, including an area of nameless (because I've forgotten what they're called) "volunteer" plants which have seeded themselves year after year. At this stage of the summer they produce small flowers that are pumpkin-shaped and vivid orange.
Yesterday as I was deadheading some of my flowers, I broke off one of the little jack o'lanterns just to enjoy its shape and texture. It has a papery skin and when you break through it, there is empty space with a small globe inside. The globe is moist and full of seeds. I was struck by the beauty of its design and simplicity of its life cycle.
As I moved through my garden, cutting some things back for fall, I noticed that many of the flower varieties that have finished blooming are now drying out and looking dead. What's not apparent is that they are hard at work producing seeds for next year's growth. Nature overcompensates in this regard. Many more seeds are produced than ever grow into plants.
Human life parallels plant life in this respect; abundant seed in both man and woman produces a relatively small number of new human beings.
My husband and I had been talking about human life and the Father's infinitesimal knowledge of and deep personal love for each of us...even those of us who never taste life on earth.
The readings today were about being sustained by God's generous gifts--manna, loaves and fishes, sacrificial giving. The abundance evident in nature and human life is reflective of God's generosity, who not only gave us life but also walks with us as companion through our days.