Kerry Walters is the William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Soul Wilderness and recently edited Rufus Jones: Essential Writings. In this spiffy and salutary meditation upon Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seeds (told in all three synoptic gospels), he locates a lesson about nurturing that is essential to living a spiritual life.

One of the most surprising things about the Christian Gospel is the radical idea that we are all recipients of a great and gladsome grace. Kerry states it another way: “The secret garden of God’s kingdom is within you. This is what Jesus tells us in the parable of the sower. Its seeds have already been sown in the depths of the heart. The trick is to allow them to germinate and spring forth.”

According to the author, the art of growing our humanity is also the challenge of growing God. How can this seed within be nourished to bloom? The first step is listening and remembering who we are. Then we can handle all that comes our way. Another lesson in spiritual gardening is to accept that pruning — cutting back — is a necessary part of the process of dealing with growth.

Kerry believes that “the best fertilizer for Godseed” is trust. This enables us to handle droughts or difficulties that come with overgrowth. He also points out that in the enchanted garden, we are not on our own. Others are there to help facilitate our sprouting as well. Kerry concludes Growing God: A Guide for Spiritual Gardeners with a paean to the spiritual practice of joy, which is a natural outgrowth of Godseed.