My oldest pair of jeans, the ones that are threadbare at the knees, the sloppy sweatshirt, “sloggers” shoes made for gardening, my new garden gloves, a floppy sun hat, and I am ready to relish my time outdoors in the garden. This is a time I have been waiting for. My seed packets have been opened and the soil has been prepared in my cut down toilet paper rolls filled with soil. The seeds are so small and hard to handle that they tumble out of the envelope. I cover them lightly with a layer of soil and then mist the soil with water.
The seed trays are placed in the warmth and light of a south facing window and I wait. It takes very little time for the lettuce seeds to sprout along with the zinnias, snapdragons and cosmos seeds. But gosh the new growth looks spindly and delicate. They seem to be in need of water every day. After a morning watering they seem to perk up and get taller. I know one day soon they will need new pots or to be planted into the earth.
In the work of a deacon and all the people of God, each of us encounters those who are thirsty for a word of hope. It may be in care homes, hospitals, shelters, thrift stores, with parents who are struggling to work, home school their children and fit in some leisure time with their loved ones. So many people need a kind word, words of hope and encouragement or someone just to listen to them. We encounter so many people who are wilted and spiritually dry just like the seedlings. All of us are surrounded by folks who are drooping and need to be offered the Water of Life. We are all called into situations among people who need so much to hear the good news of God in Christ. Each of us has incredible opportunities to minister for the Lord.
Like gardeners who tend to their plants so that they can flourish, we all need to learn how to be effective ministers for Christ.
We have things to do now. Or as N. T. Wright wrote, “What you do in the present-by painting, preaching singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbour as yourself-will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave. They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.”
We can all find ways to minister for Christ in our hurting world. We can all find ways that work for us to take care of ourselves so that we are not drooping and dry. By the time we read this edition of The HighWay it will be mid-June and the warmth will have come. The creeks and rivers may be overflowing. We will see how thirsty the ground is for water and perhaps realize how inwardly thirsty we are.
Let us keep our eyes and hearts open for the needs around us and be able to recognize the ones that God has chosen to put before us for our care.
What a blessing it is for us, to be able to bring the Water of Life into situations that God presents to us.
Deacons have their attention on their local communities, the world and its needs, and mobilize their parishioners to bear witness to the Living Water of Christ in their own situations and in their own way.
Perhaps the Water of Eternal Life is whispering to you about becoming a Deacon in God’s Church and God’s world. Contact me if you wish to explore this amazing call – [email protected].