“I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
“On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.
“All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.”
And then read more...
I didn’t knowI was a gardener. I think it crept up on me, like the proverbial frog in gradually heating water. I suppose the two vegetable gardens might have tipped me off, or the fact that I can’t seem to sit outside without thinking about what needs to be dug, cut, or planted. I heard a hint of the honorific when the sight of new life coming out of the dirt reminded me of hope and hard work.
Two things moved me over the line from yard worker to gardener. The first was taking an existing plant of my own, and creating more — gathering fall seeds to plant another year, dividing spring perennials too big for their boots into many, creating new roses to root from the small growth off an old stock. The second marker of a gardener was giving them away.
Father, You are not a yard worker. You are a gardener — the Gardener. A desire for growth undergirds all Your efforts. The cutting takes courage, and You are Brave. The planting takes tenderness, and You are Gentle. The growth is strong, for You are Mighty. The fruit is lasting, for You are Glorious.
I know this in my bones, even when my heart has a hard time hearing. I trust Your Goodness even as I doubt.
Help me to be a tender, vulnerable, soft shoot, ready for You.
Help us to be a tender, vulnerable, soft shoot, ready for You.
Help Your Church to be a tender, vulnerable, soft shoot, ready for You. Help us to be ready for the new life You desire to see. Help us to be brave for the cutting. Keep us raw and ready and receptive of the new place You desire to plant us. Make us able to access the might from You to endure the growing pains.
Ezekiel saw it with You, Holy Spirit.
A growing tip from a lofty top. Tender. Ready. Moving from the height of a cedar to the height of a mountain. A starting over in a new place. For fecundity For diversity For respite and home. All knowing, the All-Knowing All reset by Your hand.
Let us be Your branches, Lord. Let us be a safe place for people to land and find You. Fill us with Yourself, that we may have life to give away. Ready Your Church for the weight of the fruit of new life in You.
Ready us for the weight of the fruit of new life in You.
Ready me for the weight of the fruit of new life in You.
In Jesus’ beautiful, brave, tender, mighty, glorious name, Amen.