A week or two ago, a patch of fungi erupted almost overnight on our lawn. The question that first arose in my mind was, ‘Are they edible?’ The process of finding out led me to reflections on life and faith.

 

Since I was a small child, for as long as I can remember, one of my great pleasures has always been harvesting food that is naturally available in the landscape around us, and autumn is a particularly rich season for doing so. I have treasured memories of early morning walks with my grandmother, gathering mushrooms from the fields before coming home to have mushrooms on toast for breakfast. So maybe it is not surprising that my first question about the fungi on our lawn was, ‘Can we eat them?’ All the fungi identification guides we could find suggested they were a species this is edible when young. But accurately identifying fungi is notoriously difficult, so we checked too the poisonous species ours could possibly be confused with, and the changes the edible species could be expected to go through as it matured. Then we picked a couple of samples and waited. Our picked specimens went through the changes expected, and became inedible, and our dog flattened most of the specimens left on the lawn. There is now a second set coming up, and maybe we will eat one of those.

 

As we waited and watched, I saw in the fungi from my lawn, a model of what life and faith often seems to be like. I know that I would often like immediate answers to problems, or immediate results from things I do. Yet, like the fungi on our lawn, often we find we have to wait before something becomes clear. I found myself reflecting too that actually the most fruitful stage for the fungi on my lawn is when it collapses into a squishy pulp and sheds its spores as a liquid that soaks into the ground. Sometimes I think the true fruitfulness of things we do comes, not at the outset, when everything looks crisp and novel and beautiful, but much later when we see something that has perhaps started looking tired and ragged. The Bible tells us that God does not see as we see, but God sees our hearts. The fungi on my lawn gave me one more way of imagining and exploring this quality of God.

 

  • When have you seen fruitfulness in something that does not look beautiful?

  • What parts of your life are most fruitful at the moment?

 

Prayer for the week - 16th October 2020

 

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