Have you ever dealt with a troupe of servant leaders who work diligently to steady the heavy blooms of new beginnings until they open up in full strength and beauty?
Have you ever felt ready to burst with hopes and dreams forming in your heart of a growing community of faith who knows the joy of being Spirit led together ?
Have you ever knelt in prayer, heady with the scope of budding signs of what seem to radiate the start of local and global ministries which make the love of God visible?
It can take our breath away with praise and worship.
A people growing from the bulb of love for the Bridegroom are being layered by the Spirit with a deep spiritual integration of transformative theological reflection and living application as they wait for the fullness of time when faith is made sight and saints are made whole to grace the world with love in its many forms.
As this lovely reality unfolds before our eyes, face to face, arm in arm, a church is made ever more ready to interface with a world in need of hope. We can hardly contain our wonder at the quiet, hidden work in each one becoming a glorious eye-catching expression of the gospel. Clusters of stems and buds hemmed together by the common root of Christ individually and collectively open themselves to discover all they have been made to be: a holy Bride, a sanctified church, a purified people, a healthy body naturally serving in ministries of peace and presence to exude the resurrection hope that is ours.
A gift of great beauty.
Peonies in full bloom, weighty with substance, showcase the depth of potential once held encased within a tightly bound orb. These dense buds of gentle colour once seemingly dangling out of place, heads held high in modest meekness above the bushy leaves sustaining life, suddenly explode into a scene of adoration and elation, ready now to venture out in vibrant abandonment without holding back. Discarding a reservation which hides from standing out in the crowd of summer blooms, they offer the gift of being widely opened to the world, loudly, softly.
Another gift of great beauty.
Yet, the day these flowers began to open in our gardens was the day the rains began to fall. With such weighty blossoms taking on persistent moisture, they soon bend low and may fail to thrive the way they could in stretches when the air is dry and warm.
We can be right at the edge of tremendous breakthroughs in our lives of faith together but then face setbacks which may cause us to droop.
We may be tempted to curl up in balls of fear should contentious voices rife with callous disregard for the tender blooms of selfless giving revealing the manifold wisdom and glory of God be raised to cut off these budding signs of rich communal life. Our attention can be diverted from bursting into more authentic life in Christ should envious pride be hoisted high to highlight human ingenuity instead, failing to honour the sweetness of the Spirit who has brought us to these points of fragrant growth.
It’s on such days that servant hearts will lift up the burdened to finish the course without judgement, waiting patiently for each bud to open in due course without rushing it along to join the song of open transparent grace before it is ready; watching diligently that ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ is not denied.
And it’s on such days Jesus lifts us up, serving us by gently shaking off the rain of cutting words; staking us up with his unchanging word. We are secure though heads bow low; secure with heads bowed low before the Head who lifts us up again to carry on.
Though antagonists might jealously rise to try and cut short the life of exuberant witness to the Father’s kind design for community with shears of sheer opportunism or aggression, blooms of those bought with his blood still signal the amazing work of redemption already accomplished. Smiling at at each passerby, we are invited to open still more to the full revelation of our life purpose as the beloved sons and daughters of God we are.
Bursting with his love.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Will we hold back, or will we openly reveal his work of grace in us to encourage others to find this freedom too?
‘Lord, help us keep faith that all is held in trust and formed in certain hope of being made new. We anticipate that every layer of living, both that which we receive as good and bad, forms petals of a bloom announcing you are Lord of all, preparing us to bloom perennially according to your will.
Gently lead us on when we remain hidden in closed buds of possibility, not yet fully loosed to live with faces open to the Light in this dark world. Reassure us in our budding hope that you will cause your people to burst onto the scene of effective service in your name, prepared to live in your ways of self-giving love, in the Way who is Love … a gift of great beauty. Amen.’