Over the past few seasons, recurring visits to the Skagit Valley in Washington have taught me a thing or two about seasons, patience, faith, and staying positive. The photos you see … the one of the bare-looking field, and then the other with a glorious array of tulips growing in the same field … were taken months apart. What an enormous difference a few months can make!
Oh sure, we all know the basic principles of agriculture. You prepare the ground, cultivate the soil, make sure the nutrients and proper irrigation are in place, and then at the right time, plant the crop. After planting, more cultivation ensues, making certain the new shoots and growing plants have everything they need … water, nutrients, weeding, pruning, and other time-sensitive care.
Of course, we cannot control when the rain comes or doesn’t, and we have absolutely no say about when the sun shines or when clouds make for dark, dreary days. We do what we can to help our crops grow, but key elements such as moisture and sunshine are functions of nature and are cued by Someone much bigger than you or I.
Agriculture is a mysterious partnership between the Creator and the created.
So is ministry.
And so is student choir.
Yes, natural disasters have a way of occasionally destroying crops and setting back a lot of hard work. However, the best farmers seek to take all of it in stride and realize that you can’t define success by one or two years, and particularly when one or two of those years would be defined as a bona fide catastrophe. When we have an especially good year, we take note of it, celebrate it, and use the energy and success to move us forward through times that may or may not be so good.
In time, the blooming seasons return in all their glory. No, our ministry is not on a four-season cycle where we can anticipate certain things happening in certain months. Our work with students is even more mysterious than the simple four seasons.
One thing we know for sure … this too shall pass! As leaders in choral ministry with kids, teens, and adults, we know that the seasons come and go. And of course, the pandemic has been one doozy of a season.
As Jesus reminded us over and over again, we can trust God with our futures. May we be found faithful in our service and love of others.
Fleetwood Mac said it another way when they sang, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”
The song was released in 1977, the year I graduated from college with a fresh music degree. Lots of tomorrows have happened since then, and we must never stop thinking about tomorrow.
For our children.
For our students.
For our choirs.
For our communities of faith.
For our world.