A Happy New Year to you all!
What a blessing it has been for me, personally, to take a couple of weeks leave, and even though all plans were thwarted, I was forced to just stop, be present and take time to renew my energy as I potted around my home.
I must also admit that I spent much of my time wrestling with God. In my own ministry context, it so often feels like two steps forward, one step back and that’s not even contending with the opening and lockdown rhythm we’ve all needed to contend with over the last two years due to Covid-19. All of the lethargy and weariness that I have felt brought me to crying out to God and asking, Lord, seriously what is going on? What is it you want of me? and how are we to bring about the building of your church in such a time as this?
As always, God allowed me to pour out my heart to him, and he gently and patiently waited until I’d said my piece. It was then, on my last day of leave, when I was in my garden ready to dismantle a large Aloe Vera plant that I had purchased from someone. It had many little new plants growing up underneath the main plant and I’d never done anything like this before, so needed to do my research. But then, I put my had to it and began the process of propagation, and as I did this the Spirit began to show me an analogy that I believe is worth sharing…
So I began the process… removing the entire Aloe plant from it’s pot. It had hundred of long deep roots and connected to the stem of the ‘mother plant’ and there were many small pups (new offspring) growing from it’s stem. I needed to loosen the soil from the many roots first, and in the process of doing this, you do actually lose some of the roots, as they are brittle, weak and break off, but no need to fear, as the roots that remain connected are strong enough to keep the plant alive and keep growing.
I then carefully separated each new pup from the main plant, and you can see these in the pictures, there were many new plants that were growing. Once I’d split them apart, I needed to leave them all out to air dry for 24 hours, this allows the many open wounds on the plant to heal over. And then, you are ready to plant them all in fresh soil to live and grown independently, and one day be ready to grow offspring’s of their own…
Cultivation and propagation is what God our Creator is all about. And church… yes YOU, the body of Christ, are being called to cultivate and propagate for a time such as this! This has been helpful for me to spiritually ponder this analogy for my own context. To recognise the deep roots of the faithful… not fearing the weak and brittle roots falling away, yet also recognising the need for new models of connecting with the generations that we have allowed to slip away. I truly believe that God is in the process of renewing his church, but we, his church need to be in tune with the process of cultivating and propagating, and allowing the Spirit of God to work through us.
I hope this analogy gives you some encouragement and something to spiritual ponder as you enter this new year. May you each be entering the year ready for action. Action of love, hope, challenge, patience, faithfulness and stepping into whatever God is calling you, and making it happen in the mighty name of Jesus.
Take some time now for some Spiritual pondering.
Liz Rankin – ND SOMA Australia