Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.
– Genesis 1:11-12, NRSV
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
– Isaiah 55:12, NRSV
On Monday evening, for its first performance since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly every seat in Barcelona’s Liceu opera house was full.
But the seats weren’t filled with humans. They were filled with plants. The musicians of the UceLi string quartet, decked in their finest performance attire, treated the leafy concert-goers to a little Puccini, while human listeners eavesdropped via livestream. (In coming days, the plants will be offered as gifts to health care workers in Barcelona. To read the full news story, visit www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/22/881943143/barcelona-opera-reopens-with-an-audience-of-plants)
As I looked at the photos from this concert, I found them to be one part whimsical and another part eerie — like a scene out of Life After People. And as I continued to muse, and my mind continued to wander, I found myself wondering…
It’s said that singing to plants can help them grow.
I wonder what happens when string quartets play for them.
I wonder what happens when preachers preach to them.
Maybe I’ll fill the pews with plants!
I’m joking, of course. Besides… the plants already know the One who created them, the One who gives them life, the One who called them into being and called them “good.” And in the really joyful moments — moments like the one described in the Isaiah passage above, when God’s people can finally return from exile, can finally return to the land and temple — even the plants can (in their own vegetal way) sing and clap and rejoice.
So sing to your plants, friends… and in time, in God’s time, in whatever time we’re finally able to return to God’s house together, may they “sing” back and rejoice with you.
While you sing and wait, may you remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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