It seemed to show up in my lawn overnight and got very comfortable … very quickly. It wasn’t a miraculous arrival, but it seemed like it. It enjoyed a couple of days of hospitality, but was then banished to salad-bar fodder for the squirrels and other denizens of our unruly lawn, after I cut the grass Sunday afternoon. Its dreams of becoming a shiitake mushroom-burger dashed by the efficient mulching potency of my mower blades. I have become disturbingly comfortable with this executioner persona residing deep within my psyche.
It seems that mushrooms of all types grow daily in my lawn. And my mower is typically the hangman’s noose brought to these lawn invaders along with other weeds of every stripe that arrive unbidden and unwanted. And no … there was no cry of “Freedom” which arose from this mushroom-Braveheart as it met its demise.
While my comfort with this all too regular death-sentencing activity that occurs on my lawn every few days is admittedly disturbing … I will admit to experiencing some level respect for the quick and vibrant growth of these mushrooms. They are obviously more prevalent due to the seemingly daily rain showers we have had this summer. And I cannot help but admire them a bit for their fearless growth and sturdy optimism about their purpose in life.
And … since water and growth are involved … yes … the pastor actually finds himself thinking about baptism. I will not torture you for very long with this theological leap, I promise. I recognize that it is a gossamer-thin chord of theological logic connecting mushrooms to baptism. But think about it. The mushroom presents to us a fearless agenda of growth and purpose … one that is fueled by the regular baptism of this summer’s unending rain showers. It has no apparent fear of rejection or persecution. It simply goes about the task God has gifted to it, either unaware or unconcerned about the risk it faces from hostile lawn moguls like myself.
Martin Luther was fond of reminding anyone that would listen, of the daily rain shower of baptismal grace that pours upon us unasked for and unmanaged by us, like the daily lavabo of face washing or the ritual of showering occurring in your bathroom each morning. Yes, the water is ordinary … and yes, the rite is so familiar that we can take it for granted, and run the risk of neutering it power by our familiarity with it. But God does not care. God quite simply and faithful continues to remind us day after day …week after week … year after year … that you are bathed in the baptismal grace of God’s love every day you rise from your bed, until the day comes when you arise anew in the Kingdom of God. And I’ll gladly take that on my daily plate of sustenance any day over any Shiitake mushroom burger.