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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

21 April 2010: Alistair McConville, All Saints' Church, Steep

Potato tips got me thinking...

As a novice gardener in his first year of aspiring to grow vegetables, I was fascinated to learn last week of the tradition that potatoes should be planted on Good Friday.

A quick ‘Googling’ of this made it clear that the horticultural benefits of this suggested timing are a hotly contested question amongst the green-fingered, but the inherent symbolism gradually sank in.

On the very day that Christians remember the death and entombment of Christ, perhaps by meditating together at the twelve Stations of the Cross, as at Steep, they plunge their dry, wrinkly seed potatoes deep into the cold, soggy earth – a distinctly unpromising act to those with no prior experience. Yet the gardening community assures me that from these hostile, unhopeful conditions new, and distinctly more appetising potato-life will soon appear. This, of course, mirrors the faith of the Christian community that, just as Jesus’s death was the precondition for his glorious resurrection, so it enabled the possibility of fuller, more abundant life for Christians here on earth, too, through the power of the Spirit. 

This is precisely the sort of heartening, hope-filled message that those of us coming out of Lent with an increased sense of our weakness of will require.  Not only are we offered hope that our eventual death is not the end, but also that we can live fuller, richer lives now because of the miraculous act of God in Jesus’s resurrection.




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