Uprooting and planting
Read Jeremiah 1:10 and 31:27-28
This month, our church field is changing. Old, diseased trees are being felled – and new trees will be planted in their place. The less than lovely produce of dogs will be cleared up, and start to go into dog bins that we provide. And a section of the field will have meadow flowers planted to spring up soon.
There is uprooting, and planting. Tearing down, and building up. And I do not think it an accident that it comes at this time. In the book of Jeremiah, and other books of the prophets, there is often a visual thing that God gives in the life of His prophet or His people to illustrate what He is saying and doing. Connected to this sense that God is doing a new thing, which Judith mentioned last Sunday – this spring-like thing He is up to – is a recognition that God is both clearing away what is old, corrupted and unhelpful; and establishing what is healthy, new, and full of life.
New doesn’t mean new-fangled. Also in Jeremiah, God calls His people to ’the ancient paths’ in 6:16. ’This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”’
Whatever God is tearing down and building, uprooting and planting, and whether that means letting go of old things to discover really new ones or re-discover much older things, let us not be people who stubbornly say, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Let us notice (‘do you not perceive it?’) the new things God is up to, and join in. Let that be our disposition and default; our prayer and practice.
Father, what are you up to? I want to join in. Show us what needs to go, and give us the courage to work with you on that, not cut against the grain. Show us what needs to grow, and give us the imagination, teamwork, time and opportunity to water what you plant.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.