The Beginning Within the End

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Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

John, who wrote his Gospel some sixty years after the death of Jesus, uses this saying to show Jesus prophesying his own death. The saying is couched in John’s account known as the triumphant entry, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday. Here we have a good example John using Jesus to advance the narrative of the early church.

The saying itself bears the characteristics of the mystical thread likely intended by Jesus. It references the omnipotence of God as the power that transforms the seed. That this power is within the seed illustrates the divinity of the individual. And even in the darkness of death, the seed is not separated from the transforming power that bears much fruit.

The principle embodied in this saying is clear. What appears to be an end is also a new beginning. From the death of one state of mind comes the birth of something greater, something that will bear much fruit. This is reminiscent of the second noble truth of Buddhism that says that trishna or clinging, is the cause of all suffering. If we cling to the seed, it will not bear fruit. If we cling to conditions as they were, our forward movement will be frustrated, and suffering will result.

Think of a situation in your life now that is undergoing significant change. Are you fearful? Are you reluctant to let the seed of the old condition fall into the ground and die? In your time of quiet, try thinking of the situation as you would a seed that is ready to plant. Imagine dropping it into the ground, covering it with soil and then sitting back knowing that something greater is now emerging. How the new emerges is not your problem. Your job is to let go in trust, knowing the Divine is now working its greater good through you.

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