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“The Kingdom of God is within you.”

If you would like to get your own advent calendar with these drawings on them go to forwardmovement.org.

Fireweed. 

During Advent, I want to remember that the frozen soil never forgets Spring.


Near my hometown is my favorite mountain, Princess Loowit, or Mt. St. Helens as she is called by westerners.

Loowit is an active Volcano. In 1980, Loowit erupted with tremendous force and violence, and the devastation was immense, with many animals, people, trees, bridges, rivers, lakes, houses and weather patterns destroyed or radically altered.

My father grew up on Mt. St. Helens, spending most of his childhood in the woods and lakes on Loowit’s northern side.

Nearly all of this land he loved was obliterated by the 1980 eruption. At least that’s how it seemed at first. For my father and many others in my town, the missing peak on Mt. St, Helens and the changed landscape were and still are a constant sadness, much like living with the unexplained loss of a best friend.

But for me, I grew up with the new growth.

Shortly after the eruption, when it seemed that everything was dead and the ground was unable to hold life, the beautiful Fireweed flower came up, almost everywhere. 

The Fireweed grows best in areas after forest fires, volcanic eruptions, clear-cutting, or in lands damaged from roads and other human industrial activity. The fireweed flower loves the hurting and dying places.

It helps to heal the ground, and allows the needed nutrients to establish themselves into the slowly recovering soil, until the ground has the strength and energy to hold bigger and more diverse life forms.

The fireweed is humble, but bold, very beautiful and strong. It is a living example and symbol of the power of active forgiveness and living in right relationship with the environment.

After it has done its job, it disappears, but its seeds stay in the soil and remain ready to flower again after another disaster.

I hope I can be like this flower wherever I live.

During Advent, I want to remember that the frozen soil never forgets Spring.

I want to never forget the light within, and the reality of Jesus in all life, and live into Heaven here and now, as it is, and in so doing to anticipate and feel the truth of Jesus’ words, that it is already here, and that it is coming. 

And here and now, I think it looks and feels a lot like bomb craters and industrial clear-cuts ablaze with Fireweed’s purples and reds and greens. And Korean elders singing, holding hands and standing in the way of cement trucks trying to lay foundations for a new naval base on top of their home, Gangjeong Village (Jeju Island, South Korea). And standing in the streets of every major city in the US, demanding a better and more just society in which Black Lives Matter. And learning traditional ways and affirming elders on Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota, while crying for the earth and future generations and swearing to do everything in one’s power to stand up to the Keystone Oil snake trying to illegally run through native lands against the people’s wills.

And it looks a whole lot like eating and singing and telling stories together. Face to face.

The “Kingdom of God” that Jesus talked about is a reality in which that of God in all things is honored—earth, humans, all life. Spring is coming! What would happen if we really saw God in all persons and things?

Gradually, I think our lives would come to look and act a lot like the Fireweed, ready to spring up to help when needed, and just as happy to recede back into the soil and out of sight when the time is right for other forms of god to take the stage. 

For starters, I bet we’d sing more.

-Seth Martin (Toledo, WA & Camas Friend Adoptee)

Fireweed Mountain (click above image to listen and see lyrics below).
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Fireweed Mountain by Seth Martin


The mountains and the fir trees cover me, and I’m feeling free, and I’m feeling free
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, wait and see, wait and see!
 
Fighting fire off with fire, these machines, still running me, still run in me,
 
Fighting fire off with fire, this machine, still in me, and it’s stealing me.
 
Can breaking down the brokenness complete, still in me, still in me?
 
Can breaking down the brokenness complete? Wait and see, wait and see.
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, and I’m feeling free, and I’m feeling free
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, wait and see, wait and see!
 
My hands are open and my feet are bare, are you still there? Are you still there?
 
My hands are open and my feet are bare, unaware, unaware.
 
But when the sun shines warm upon my face, then I know my place, then I know my place
 
When the sun shines warm upon my face, I know my place, I know my place.
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, and I’m feeling free, and I’m feeling free
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, wait and see, wait and see!
 
I’m gonna fight the good fight for what I love best, and then I’ll rest, and then I’ll rest.

I’m gonna fight the good fight for what I love best, and then I’ll rest, then I’ll rest.
 
(LOOWIT ERUPTS!)
 
I stop and breathe and put down my machines, and I hear them sing, and I hear them sing
 
I stop and breathe and put down my machines, and I hear them sing, I hear them sing:
 
(da da da da da)
 
But then the soil’s singing to my feet: you’re incomplete, still incomplete.
 
Then the soil’s singing to my feet, incomplete, you’re incomplete.
 
But when the soil’s singing to my feet, then I’m feeling free, then I’m feeling free
 
When the soil’s singing to my feet, wait and see, wait and see!
 
And the rooster crowing at the break of dawn: won’t be long! Won’t be long!
 
The rooster’s crowing at the break of dawn: won’t be long! Won’t be long!
 
And flames of fireweed dot the burned-out ridge, singing I’ll forgive, well I’ll forgive!
 
Flames of fireweed dot the burnt-out ridge, singing let it live! Let it live!
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, and I’m feeling free, and I’m feeling free
 
The mountains and the fir trees cover me, wait and see, wait and see!

*Fireweed Image Credit.
Reading from the Gospel of Luke

20-21 Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”

22-24 He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes.

Luke 17:20-24 (The Message)

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