The Parts We Don’t See

As it turns out, this very Amanita mushroom (about two weeks more mature this morning than it appears in this peak-of-life image) will be the subject of the children’s sermonette this morning because Ann last week said she’d do it. And this is how that works out, predictably delegated away. Nuff said.

I’ll talk briefly about simile and metaphor. These are some of the ways the Bible tells stories to help us understand. I’ll give a few examples.

Jesus said “I am the bread, the vine, the good shepherd.” Parables often used simile:  The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.

I’ll pull this specimen you see here out of the cooler and, as an aside, tell them that this is a relative of the largest oldest living thing on earth: the honeycap (Armillaria) discovered growing in Oregon that covers four square miles and may be more than 8000 years old.

Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus – Scientific American

Then, getting around to the churchy part,  I’ll tell them I find stories–life lessons–often in the natural world.

Most of this giant mushroom lives as fungal threads (mycelia) that are invisible under the surface of what we know and see. We only find the occasional mushroom part of the organism peeking up above the surface.

We see things happen in life that we give God credit for.  Those are the “mushrooms” we think of as blessings; as praise-worthy things. The rest of his work is underground–vast, invisible, ongoing.

So watch for the mushrooms, but think about what is happening all the time, day and night, under the surface from the very beginning of time.

And the next time she picks up the children’s sermon book, it belongs to her. No waffling. No sympathy. No turning the other cheek. Tough love, dear. Go and delegate no more.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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