Wisdom from Weeds

21 Jun

I was pulling some weeds the other day and one that I pulled was so pretty to me that I took it inside and plunked it into some water in a cup and put it on our table as a dining centerpiece of sorts. I texted a photo to my daughters to share its pretty look and one texted back its genus according to an app she has on her phone that identifies plants from a picture. It was from the Bradford Pear tree family which ironically was left behind after our grand 30 year old Bradford Pear tree toppled over in a wind storm last fall. It was always my favorite tree in the yard and I felt sad as we chopped it up for future firewood. But here I was 6 months later seeing a REMNANT of that once grand tree. I not only noticed the little sprout in the brush, but I brought it into the house to enjoy.

A remnant is often viewed as something smaller saved from a bigger thing. Fabric remnants come to mind as they are found in sewing and craft stores suggesting that most of the fabric had been purchased yet a smaller, equally important piece remained and is now for sale. Carpet remnants are similar–a valuable albeit smaller piece of carpet is still beautiful and still available for a future use.

This makes me think of the church in a near post Covid season. Quite a number of folks have not yet returned to in person worship. I speak not only for my church, but most churches world wide. There is simplicity and ease in “pajama worship” that can be done online in the comfort of one’s home live or later when it is convenient for the viewer. For those who have returned to the building, we have seen the open pews, the missing paper copy worship materials and the evidence of new technology. We are adjusting to those nuances. We have enthusiastically returned to our friendships and fellowship moments and the spirit of community worship that only happens when people physically gather together. During the height of Covid we missed that SO much! I cannot deny the value of technology and online worship, but I can say it is not my preference–just as I would choose a live theater performance over a movie and I would prefer a walk outside over a walk indoors on a track or in a mall. Those of us who are “back in the building” for worship are the REMNANT. We are the smaller yet still valuable piece that remains. We are that little sprout of the tree that still has life and beauty to share.

After Jesus died by tragic crucifixion those left behind felt lost and alone. They mourned the leader they loved and they felt aimless without his presence. Then he arose and they felt a renewed commitment/ ministry. He communicated with them how to move forward because he deemed them necessary and useful for the future. They were the REMNANT. They were a smaller image of what had transpired in Jesus’ brief ministry, but no less important.

We sometimes think bigger is better, but is it?

We sometimes think the more the merrier, but are they?

That little piece of a once grand tree has taught me that those of us left behind as a smaller version of “what once was” still have work to do. To me, there will always be a need for corporate worship, projects of mission, volunteer action–a church life. And for now, if the smaller church looks like a remnant, let’s realize the worth and sort out how the smaller church will still bring relevance and value to a world that sorely needs to see God’s daily presence.

“God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew…

At the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” – Romans 11:1-5

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