Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Thorny Question

The brambles are apppearing.
I paused to admire how well they were growing.
"Remind you of anything?" said the voice.
"Brambles?" I suggested.
"Mission" came the  swift response.
"...and my disciples have a choice.
Look carefully, what do you see?"
"Yes, but which part of the plant do you notice first?"
"The flowers!"
"Yes, that is the attractive part.
You have noticed what I wanted you to see when I designed them."

"Now think of all the potential fruit each flower can produce..."
"But flowers do not last.
Their season is short,
before they fade and fall apart."
"That's a bit unfair!!!"
"Their job is done,
it is the way creation works, remember?"
"I suppose so."

"Now look closer, 
further down the stem.
What else can you see?"
"Thorns and ouch indeed!
Brambles represent the mission in the local community. 
The people outside the church.
Each person is precious and special,
like each of those beautiful flowers,
with the potential to produce fruit in abundance."
"That is a beautiful commission!"
"...but be careful!
Before you start getting all soppy and sentimental 
about the task I have set you.
Remember that they are wounded, 
hurting people.
If you rush in foolishly you will feel pain and rejection,
as you encounter their suffering.
Reach gently,
appreciate the beauty of each person,
for they were made in my image,
and each one has much to give."

"When my followers look at the troubled world, 
do they see the potential of the people around,
or are they too afraid of the danger?
Do they choose instead to reject those outside the church,
who do not conform to their expectations
condemning them?
Preferring them to be chopped down and cast aside, 
before they have had the opportunity to reach their potential."

"What do you see?
Future fruit,
threatening thorns?"

"Are you going to work with my people,
or reject them?"

"That is a very thorny question!"