An Unexpected Struggle

An Unexpected Struggle


Rick Seaholm is Commissioned Minister of Music at Edwards Church UCC in Framingham, Massachusetts and is on the IT staff and Information Systems faculty at Boston University Questrom School of Business.

Scripture:  Matthew 13:23 (NRSV)

But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Reflection: An Unexpected Struggle

As new homeowners a few summers back, my wife and I relished the outdoor opportunities we had not had for our fifteen-plus years of apartment living. Gas grill, fire pit, chairs enough for our largest group of friends. We quickly realized the power of being hospitable, serving those who would visit our home. Modest it is, but it feels palatial when thought of in those terms. That first summer we tried our hand at planting, but we quickly learned about the rocky ground and the choked ground that Jesus talks about (not to mention the soggy ground, the dry ground, and the ground in the path of rabbits and chipmunks). We didn't succeed too well with the land, but it was ours.
The following year, we used these lessons. I built a self-irrigating raised bed, capable of holding 40 gallons of rain water underneath its prime soil, sucked up by the vegetables' roots only as they needed it. The entire summer I only refilled three times and we ate like royalty. As the summer wore on, our guests were fed "from the land" and whether exaggerated or not, each declared that the immediacy of picking lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes moments prior to eating them made for the tastiest they'd ever had. And the miracle lay in the fact that every single day there were new leaves to take the place of those we'd eaten the night before. Set it and forget it!
As a side project that summer of 2019, I was working steadily at composting, enjoying the mathematical ratios of nitrogens to carbons, always low on the browns as I made my way through a season of mowing and stockpiling greens. It wasn't until our neighbors' trees dropped their leafy manna on our lawn in the fall that our ratios got better in line. Tears came to my eyes the first time I stabbed my pitchfork to reveal a plume of steam as the chemical processes proved their work.
This spring, as I tilled the compost further, organizing in bins 1 through 4, I realized I finally had the rich result I'd sought all along, time to spread it! But, when it was finally time, I couldn't easily bring myself to use it, knowing how much work had gotten me there. I stared at the small pile, took a photo, wondering if I'd spread this around the raised beds, barely notice it mixed in with the rest of the soil, and potentially never get the formula right again. An unexpected struggle. Why didn't I feel as generous as I had felt with the lettuce and spinach?


God, we praise you for outdoor living, complete with places to relax and places to work; rain barrels and compost, our renewable resources; friends and family who gather in our homes and yards. Help us to spread our generosity abundantly in all facets of our lives, that we may use these resources richly whether our harvest is meager like my compost, or seemingly never-ending like our leafy greens. Amen

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For those grieving for the nearly 130,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
  • For those grieving or suffering after protests and violence in Ethiopia led to 166 deaths in the past week
  • For those grieving or suffering in Myanmar after a landslide killed 170 last week
  • For those grieving or suffering in Japan where massive flooding has led to at least 18 deaths and the evacuation of thousands

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For those who have found innovative ways to celebrate and enjoy the summer without endangering themselves or their neighbors

Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:

Wildermere Beach Congregational Church, Milford, CT
Woodmont UCC, Milford, CT
First Church in Middletown, UCC, Middletown, CT
South Congregational Church, Middletown, CT
United Congregational Church of Newport, Middletown, RI
Congregational Church, UCC, Middlefield, MA
Middlefield Federated Church, Middlefield, CT
Middlebury Congregational Church UCC, Middlebury, CT
North Congregational Church, Middleboro, MA
Second Congregational Church, Middle Haddam, CT
First Church Congregational UCC, Methuen, MA
Forest Street Union Church, Methuen, MA

This Week in History:

July 7, 1930  (90 years ago) The Hoover Dam construction begins. The Colorado River structure would become the biggest dam in the world and one of the biggest man-made structures of its time. Though the dam produces energy for millions of people today, its construction was a contentious idea and it took several years of proposals before its construction was finally approved by Congress. The dam was finished in 1935, reportedly 2 years ahead of schedule and under budget. Questions about the ecological impact of the dam on the river system still raise controversy today.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

July 06, 2020
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