Lukas Nelson, son of the famed Willie Nelson, writes a song called, “Turn Off the News, Plant a Garden.” The title itself never fails to pull a chuckle from my lungs and my knee-jerk reaction to its humorous and truthful irony gives way to a deeper and more profound awareness of just how desperately my soul yearns to embrace its wisdom. What does such an emotive and visceral response mean? Why do I feel so let down, so attacked, and so desperately enslaved by the narrative coming through the news outlets that the thought of digging in the dirt becomes a vision of personal and spiritual liberation?
From the time that I was born and through adulthood I was always very close with my grandparents, and they were excellent farmers! Every spring us grandchildren would help them ready their mountain farm for the sowing of seed and the tilling of soil. Whether it was hauling stinky buckets of compost outside or tossing rocks away from the field, our chores were defined by the season and the need. We also always kept the central and eventual purpose of bearing fruit for the harvest. In the summer we were climbing up peach trees and carrying melons inside. We learned quickly when a tomato was just right for picking and how to shuck corn. Every step of the way my grandparents would teach and guide us in best practices yet there
was always a freedom to our choices as well. We were given tasks, a little bit of direction, and the trust and respect to go and get the job done.
Today as an adult I feel uneased almost every time that I read a news article about our national conversations. Behind a small percentage of facts lies an ocean of opinion and accusation in an “if you’re not for us you’re against us” tone that does not leave much room for decision making and invites little critical thinking space for the reader. What I sense in the collective consciousness of God’s spiritual family is
that people are confused and desperate for a way to understand the world and what is happening around us. I believe that humanity is hungry for not only truth, but THE Truth that has the power to set us free.
I understand that it is important to stay informed and be aware of what is happening in the world today. But that hunger for Truth can only be satisfied if we interpret what is going on around us through the lens of the Gospel and the words of Jesus Christ. It is more important than ever that we take our eyes off the false prophecies of the day and dive into the Word with our hearts and minds open. Let us ask God what to
make of this troubled world that we live in. May we meditate on the love and compassion of Christ when we feel angry toward others. And through the power of the Holy Spirit we may just find Peace in the midst of the trouble around us.
When the world has brought us down, let us turn off the news and open our Bible. Whether it is with a group of believers or in the quiet of a solitary hour, time with Scripture is time with the God of eternal Truth and understanding.
Tom Henderson Owens
Rev. Tom Owens
Executive Pastor for Ministries