"Listen, Wait, & Watch" - 04/13/2018


Like you, I’m relieved that three weeks into spring the sun is just now beginning to warm up the ground and tender things are blooming. The loud daffodils my kids planted a couple of years ago unfolded again with their strident optimism, cherry blossoms have softened the hard, city sky and last year’s kale volunteered to grow for another season in the raised bed behind my house. We look for power to come in large, impressive packages but God is regularly at work in smallness, insignificance and in the ordinary. Jesus tells stories about this phenomenon all the time. He calls our attention to mustard seeds turning into to the greatest of all shrubs and how a little bit of yeast leavens hundreds of times its weight in dough. At Bible study on Wednesday night we read the parable of the Sower who throws seeds everywhere on all kinds of soil. Most of them don’t grow but some do and multiply thirty, sixty and even a hundred times. A woman at the table sighed, full or regret and certainty that she was a seed thrown on thorny ground- someone who received Jesus’ words with joy but produced nothing. But thank God that story isn’t about us, the dumb seeds. It’s about the Sower’s generous hand flinging the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven everyplace. Even when only a few seeds take root the harvest is vast and has nothing to do with the seed’s will power or lack of it. As much as we might like to have a say in how it happens, God can glorify Herself in us with and without our consent and even in our failures. Aggravated after months of trying to get Family Promise, a church-based temporary shelter program for homeless families off the ground, I gave up. Then, last year a lady from a church I’d tried to get involved in this effort came to my office, listened to my complaints, collected the files and made it happen. That’s why today there’s a family who was homeless last month with a brand new home and another family with shelter and the loving support of twelve churches, not to mention the students at New Jersey and St. Peter’s Universities, as they search for permanent housing. Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”John 3:8 No one can keep up with where or how God will bring heaven a little closer to earth, but God does it everywhere and anywhere and even in you. The trick is to listen, to wait and to watch with eager eyes adjusting to the bright light of Easter. Your sister in Christ, Rev. Laurie

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Grace Church Van Vorst  | 39 Erie Street  |  Jersey City, NJ 07302  |  Phone: 201-659-2211  |  office@gracevanvorst.org

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