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5th Sunday of Lent (Ages 3-6): A Grain of Wheat

(for the 3-6 yr old, simply verse 24)


We prepare for so many weeks for the feast of Easter. At Easter we will celebrate in a special way Jesus dying on the cross and rising to new life, never to die again. In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus prepares for his death and rising. He understands what will happen, but his disciples do not. His disciples worry about death. When his disciples worry about death, Jesus tells them a parable:

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

We remember that a parable is like a little mystery. Jesus knows something, and he wants us to think about the parable so that we can know it, too.

When Jesus says,

unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,

what does he mean?

Here is a grain of wheat lying on a shelf:

It is a seed. It is hard and brown. If we tap it on the counter, it makes a tap, tap, tapping sound. If we put that seed back on the shelf and leave it there, what will happen to it? What will it look like after many sleeps? Will it change at all?

But Jesus does not talk about putting the grain of wheat on a shelf. He says the grain of wheat,

falls into the earth and dies

What can that mean?

What happens if we put a seed into the earth, into soil?

If we go looking for the seed after a few sleeps, what do we find? Covered in dirt, something sticks out of it. If we dig it up and tap it against the counter again, it does not make the tap, tap, tapping sound anymore. The seed is dying.

Grain of wheat with a tiny root.

If we go looking for it again, after many sleeps, now we see something green poking out of the soil. When we dig, we find more things rooting deep into the soil. At first we cannot find the seed, but then we see it. It seems to have broken apart.

If we wait until the season changes, more green spouts appear and grow very tall. They look very healthy. When we dig under the soil, we can no longer find the seed. The seed has died.

If we wait until the season changes again, now we see heads on the wheat. Seeds fill each head. Who can count that many seeds?

The one seed still lies on the shelf. It remains one seed, hard and brown. It has not changed at all.

The seed that fell into the earth died, and now there live many, many other seeds. Where there was once one little life, now who can count how much life there is?

Seeds fill each head.

Jesus tells his disciples this parable when they worry about death. Jesus knows something about death. The little seed that died knows something about death, too.

What do they know?

What does death do?

What can we say?

Here is a picture of wheat that grew from the death of just a few seeds planted by some children.

We might try planting a seed in soil and see what happens. It does not have to be a wheat seed. We could think more about this little mystery about death and life.

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