Reflections – June/July 2017
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my gardens. Freezing temperatures put the gardens to bed in November, which set up a dicey situation for new lilies and other bulbs which were shipped late. Snow and ice enveloped them throughout the long, relentless winter. Perennials were slow to emerge this spring and sadly some succumbed to the prolonged cold; maybe they were just old or not as healthy as they appeared last summer. But during the month of May some dramatic changes have ensued. Some of our struggling plants show hopeful signs of thriving following a bit of TLC and some urgently needed sunshine!
An interesting loose parallel can be drawn between Christians and the botanical world, summed up in a cute cyclical writing: “Healthy things grow. Growing things change. Change challenges us. Challenge forces us to trust God. Trust leads to obedience. Obedience makes us healthy. And healthy things grow.” Neither the plants in my garden nor my faith walk flourish amid stagnation.
Our relationship with God desperately needs to be re-evaluated periodically. Not uncommon to that re-evaluation is the gradual or sudden realization that we need an upgrade! The same ole, same ole just isn’t cutting it anymore. As creatures of habit, comfort, and familiarity, our routine private and corporate worship—though thoroughly Christ-centered—can become predictably comfortable, dull, dreary, and lacking spontaneity, expectancy, or fruit. Where is the joy we once experienced and eagerly sought when we first came to faith in Christ? When we were first empowered by the Holy Spirit?
Recently we made a move from PC (USA) to ECO. We’ve been introduced to the concept of becoming a flourishing church. Were we not flourishing before? Well, to some degree perhaps. But over time there was a sense that we needed to step it up; to pursue our relationship with the Lord and with one another more intentionally and in a more focused manner. But step it up? To what? To what God wants us to be for advancing His kingdom. For fulfilling the great commission of making disciples in all the earth. It promises to become a new leg in our journey together. It will involve many aspects: from worship to study groups to missions to evangelism outside our walls. Yikes, that’s scary! No, that’s the exciting, life-changing stuff Acts talks about and we marvel at. That is center stage where the action is!
Springtime is a great season of hope, planning, and expectation for the new and the fresh. As I revamp sections of my garden where some plants have disappeared, I find an abundance of others that self-sowed and can be transplanted from one bed to another. Each garden will take on a slightly different appearance, but a variety of blooms is refreshing. I welcome it. Last year’s theme for Family Camp was “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed—” So this may be the beginning of our sought-after transformation that will usher in a stronger presence of the Holy Spirit in church and in our region. As the people of God, called by His name, may we enthusiastically embrace the opportunity He has set before us.
Blessings in abundance.