This article has been a few months in the making. In preparation for the July edition of the Kindling I received an article from Fr Al Backmann entitled, “The Power of One”. In it he stated, “As Christians, we must teach the next generation about our faith so that they are not in danger of losing theirs. One generation is all it takes to either lose or pass on the faith. Think about that? One generation!” That has been playing in my mind over and over ever since then.
Within a week of receiving his article I attended a women’s retreat at the arboretum. Part of that retreat included time for us to spend in the gardens on a private prayer walk. As soon as I walked out the doors I started noticing things that were reinforcing Fr Al’s message for me. In one of the ponds built on top of a large stone, was a large metal origami crane with other smaller cranes balancing from its wings and head. One crane upon another, over five birds high, reminded me of how connected and in tune we must be with each other in passing on our faith. Each one of those cranes was reliant on another for its stability.
(To see Picture 1, please look at the online version of the kindling)
Then I came upon a bush with flowers in every stage of bloom. There were buds that were just forming, buds that were just about to open, flowers in full splendor and flowers that looked rather dry and spent. How like us as human beings in each stage of life. However, unlike these flowers, we can choose to continue to bud and bloom in how we live our lives and reach out and engage others, or not.
Another powerful lesson on the prayer walk, was in the lovely shaded hosta garden. I decided to sit on a bench and rest in the cool shade. While there it struck me that this beautiful sprawling shade tree was providing a lovely shelter for the plants below. It protected from the harsh sun while allowing enough of the sun’s rays and rain in for the plants to flourish. This was a beautiful metaphor for how we can gently and positively protect and influence our children, grandchildren, other family and friends.
(To see Picture 2, please look at the online version of the kindling)
So, all of this was stirring in my mind prompting me to write a reflection, but I felt stuck. Then on September 3rd the missing piece was revealed to me. My bible study friends and I have been discussing a daily devotional over the summer months called, My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. That day I was stopped in my tracks when I read,
“If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you hoarded it. Yet if you had poured it out to Him, you would have been the sweetest person on earth. If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out anything “to the Lord,” other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you.”
Have you and I been hoarding the blessings of our faith? Then as I was preparing to sit down and finally write all of this down, I said a prayer for guidance and this is what I heard, “Where your heart is, there your treasure shall be.” Hmm, where has my heart been directed recently? Has the treasure of my time and attention been spent in the places God intended? Where is your heart? What is your treasure? Have you been hoarding the blessing of your faith? Perhaps through prayer and in the pondering of these questions, a path will be revealed to each of us.