by Kathy Matuschka
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I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain (Ezekiel 17:22b).
Yesterday I confessed that I often run ahead of God’s timing and try to bring his promises to fruition in my own steam. In Ezekiel 17, the prophet speaks about the futility of the vassal (puppet) king’s attempts to break free of Babylonian rule by forging an alliance with Egypt.
Now Ezekiel shares a promise that God will restore. God will take a shoot from what currently exists and plant it somewhere new, where it will thrive.
I am quite curious about how God’s restorative gardening might look in our context in Australia and New Zealand today. I wonder if our churches are like strong cedars that may need to be planted elsewhere going forward, as in today’s text.
Some shoots have already been planted. They may look tentative initially but, with some nurturing, will become sturdy and fruitful. I am at an age where I am often not the one having the most innovative thoughts and visions. So I look at generations younger than me and how God’s Spirit is at work among them. I notice that the shoots they choose to nurture are churches as places of welcoming and belonging, of care for the vulnerable both near and far. I see other shoots planted in all age groups: peace-seeking and reconciliation, greater attention to listening to God and each other.
What old shoots do you notice that have been planted in new ways? Are they budding … or fruiting?
Dear God, thank you that you care for your church like a skilled gardener. Give us eyes and ears to notice the new things your Spirit is nurturing in our communities, and give us the trust to follow the action. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Kathy Matuschka loves gazing at and walking within God’s creation, listening to stories of life and faith, and spending time with family and friends. She serves within the LCA Queensland District as Assistant Director for Ministry & Mission.