A garden story...
"He has showed you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
~ Micah 6:8
By this time in the summer, most everything in our garden has bloomed. Most of what I planted has been successful, and what hasn't done well, I have pulled it up and replaced it with something else, often moving the non-productive plant to another place in the yard, hoping it will still find a way to grow and bloom.
I'd like to think that God is a lot like that when it comes to us. I have often heard the phrase, "Bloom where you are planted," but for anyone who does any kind of gardening, we know that some plants just do better elsewhere.
So often I meet people who are where they are because they are stuck, afraid to make a change, or have "settled." While none of us really enjoy the idea of being "yanked" from where we currently are, for some, the new place to grow from is exactly what is needed.
Having grown up in a home where our family motto was, "Nothing is as permanent as change," the idea of change is nothing new to me.
When Jesus arrives in history, there is a change that occurs that many people are still trying to understand. The change was not just a mild adjustment. It was suddenly about conversion, not the abolishment of the laws, but fulfillment. It was no longer about not talking with your enemies, but sitting at a table, and sharing a meal with them. His radical teachings threatened not only his life, but challenged all religious thought, including the split of the curtain in the temple in his final breaths, inviting all humanity to be directly in relationship with God. Could you imagine if Jesus had simply settled in the tomb?
The resurrection reminds us that we are never fully at rest. That we should never simply "bloom where we are planted," because the gospel is about change. The changing of people's hearts. The challenge to love ourselves, and then to take that love to those who we have difficulty in loving. We are no longer strangers, but brothers and sisters, whether we practice the same religion, live the same lifestyle, or believe the same thing. It is about making us uncomfortable!
The gardener has no problem pulling up plants and moving them to where they will do better. The question is, what are you waiting for?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.