But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
– Luke 24: 12
One of the surprising moments that Nadia Bolz-Weber notes in her new book Shameless is when she is looking out over a landscape of fields from an airplane window. For the first time, she notices how many fields were planted in the shape of a circle and not a square.
Realizing that would be a total waste, she rightly concludes that the crops are not planted in circles, they are just watered in circles.
The center pivot irrigation system revolutionized farming in America, but what happens and what is wasted is that the water doesn’t get to all the corners. And the plants won’t grow there.
Pastor Nadia uses this illustration to talk about the way that the church has been operating (especially around gender, sexuality, and body image) for a long time. Instead of reflecting the great diversity of God’s creation and God’s limitless reach, the church has sort of settled to water what’s in our closest circle.
But what about folks planted in the corners?
What about the margins?
What about the fringes?
We can go a long time if we are in the majority and busy with our own stuff, not caring or noticing the people who might be missing and who aren’t getting watered the same way in God’s amazing love.
But what Easter promises is that God’s amazing Good News in the death and resurrection of Jesus is for everyone. No exclusions. No missed edges.
No plants or people left unwatered.
It’s interesting that in John’s Gospel, Jesus is even mistaken for a gardener. Maybe he had picked up a watering can.
He invites us into that watering work as well. Spreading God’s love to all the corners. All the fringes. All the edges of the earth.