Next to the sidewalk that leads to our front door is a hibiscus bush in bloom. The yellow flowers seem to shout out, “Look how beautiful I am!” The buds are plentiful and large. The first big flower to open very wide seems to look the passerby right in the face and induce a smile. The flower bush has branched out in a number of directions.
This RENEW International blog is called Branching Out; perhaps it can help inspire us to branch out in our faith in our loving God this year. Sometimes we might feel stuck, mediocre, or just “same-ol’, same-ol” in expressing our Christian faith. It is very clear that our world needs redemption in many areas! Let’s branch out!
Just as the hibiscus flower has many parts, we have many areas in our lives: our family lives, our work lives, our social lives, and, above all, our faith lives. If we invite Jesus into each area each day, we open ourselves up to divine love that is full of strength, endurance, forgiveness, and healthy possibilities. These gifts can overflow and affect others we encounter. “Look how beautiful Jesus is!”
It is not always easy. We might be too tired or too busy to sit and pray. We could be overwhelmed with problems or even tragedy in our daily lives. We cannot text God and expect him to text back. There is no divine phone number to call.
But we are not alone. God knows what we are thinking. He hears our prayers even if they are short phrases: “Lord, give me wisdom!” “Jesus, save me from despair!” “Forgive me for that slip of the tongue!”
Our branching out might be facilitated by sharing faith joys with other family members, friends, or acquaintances. A short phone call, text, or chat to one of these people can be like a flower opening, bringing advice, comfort, love, or reassurance with the Lord as our powerful source.
We can read even just a few Bible verses a day. We can copy some verses onto a readily accessible index card or onto our cell phone and take a prayer break now and then. There are 150 psalms from which to draw! For example, we could share with a child a picture of some little lambs, sing the song, “Mary had a Little Lamb,” and then tell the child how we are lambs, and Jesus is our Good Shepherd..
Maybe we could pray this week with John 15:5, 9:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear
much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.
Remember how beautiful the Lord is! Let’s branch out from that beautiful Vine!
Photograph by Sharon Krause.
The scripture passage is from The New American Bible, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.