Tuesday, May 22, 2012
the Pentecost practice of small growth
In February, I gave the three favourite women in my life flowers. Not cut, but living. Each plant was different. One was given an indoor orchid, another a outdoor flowering native shrub, another an outdoor native tree.
The period around Valentines Day in Adelaide is hot. It’s summer and things are dry. It meant that a gift of the day also demanded ongoing care. Each morning I could be found, hose in hand, watering the outdoor natives.
Moving into March, I became quite concerned about one. The soil was dry, the sun hot and significant die-back had appeared.
Yesterday, warming down after my morning run, I was delighted to see new growth, the first fragile signs of life taking root.
And to notice that the indoor orchid was preparing to flower again, a beautiful white and lavender about to emerge.
This week we celebrate Pentecost and move into a season in which we pay particular attention to the work of the Spirit. For me, the miracle of the Spirit, and the task of paying attention, is captured in the fragile new life I see in my garden.
For a while in my late teens, I linked Pentecost with great signs and wonders. I’d leave church looking for the miraculous, the dramatic, the extra-ordinary.
In doing so, I would walk right past what was small, the fragile in my garden, the miracle that is any growth, any sign of life, especially in a hot and barren climate. But the Kingdom that is God’s at times seems to pay more attention to the humble, the small, the insignificant. As Jesus welcomes children, as he avoids the crowds seeking miracles, it becomes a reminder that in God’s economy, all growth is worth celebrating, any new leaf worth paying attention to.
This for me, is the Pentecost practice of small growth.
(This is another entry in dictionary of everyday spirituality, under the heading P is for Pentecost).
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