The Oasis - February 6, 2019
Author: Rev. Estelle Margarones
February 06, 2019
February 6, 2019
Rev. Estelle Margarones
It's back to winter today, but the beginning of the week reminded me of March and I found myself wondering what the yard will look like this spring and summer. What is even now, gathering energy to be reborn and renewed? Sometimes the environment which appears cold and hostile at the surface actually insulates and protects us at a deeper level. Faith tells us that God is working in ways we cannot see in order to bring about new growth.
I will be grateful for the blossoms that come. As I give thanks to God, I will also give thanks to those who first sowed the seeds and to those who tended the gardens before me.
What will your garden look like in a few months? What are you planting right now with your thoughts, words, and actions? Are you noticing that anything could be overgrown? Is anything taking more space than you would like? Will your plants sap energy or will they bear fruit? What would you like and what seeds are necessary? And, if you delight in your garden, will you share it with others?
Years ago, I had a neighbor with an exceptional garden. Early each spring, she would divide her garden and bring plants to the garden club sale. There was something special about sharing the beauty she created. It's a beautiful thing to share seeds of faith, too.
In Genesis chapter 2, we learn that God planted a garden, situated humankind therein and gave us the honor of being caretakers. How might we faithfully live out this task of nurturing the divine/human bond within ourselves and others? How might we provide—and bring others to—a good environment for seeds of faith to take root?
Every day, I encounter people who are rooted in faith and others who have no spiritual sustenance. It's a powerful thing to realize that you could actually change a life simply by sharing your faith. Our Vision Statement says “Following the way of Jesus, we aspire to authentically invite, courageously include, and generously serve all with compassion and grace.”
I understand that it can be difficult to invite people to church, but it's critical that we are intentionally invitational. Over 80% of unchurched people would at least consider going to church if they were invited. Rev. Paul Nickerson, a church vitality coach, encourages us to go further: invite, pick up, and bring guests to church.
If that's a tall order for now, how about starting with inviting people to our family-friendly Thursday worship experience? Or, even more simple, you could start by making introductions. How about having some church friends and some unchurched friends over for dinner, or to play tennis, or to play cards....just so that they can get to know each other? When the time is right and you do invite, pick up, and bring your guests, they'll already know others at church!
There is rich, fertile, nurturing soil right here at 180 York Street. How will our garden grow?
Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 3-8:
3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown..."