Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ferns.

Last winter we lost a few redwoods at Zion. We said goodbye to beautiful and generous saints who left this world in peaceful or sudden ways. The forest rumbled as they fell and we grieved - we wondered how we could go on without them and longed for things to be like they used to be.

But things can't be like they used to be - and they shouldn't be. The forest does not manufacture new redwoods overnight. Instead, the sun pokes through and the ecosystem shifts a bit. The air sounds wide open and the breeze dips down into quiet, sleepy corners.

And then the ferns stretch and span. They recognize the shift and the spaces that are building something new. Slowly, they rise toward the light and stand a little taller because there is room to be and breathe. The potential is palpable.

We have ferns rising at Zion these days. Young people are claiming a place and articulating their gifts and sneaking into the fabric of this forest. It's fun to watch them bond with older women and roll meatballs. They bike to church and then befriend others holding bike helmets. Their offering is uniquely generous and faithful - confident giving in the midst of transition, shift work, and stipends.

At first glance, you might miss them. Instead you might see only redwoods on the ground, a wilderness graveyard of what once was.  So it is tempting to mold them into redwoods -
to imagine that they are here to replace someone we've lost
to ignore their gifts and misuse them as warm bodies
to hope that they will take us back in time to a forest that no longer exists.

But if we fall to these fearful temptations, we are missing the whole, beautiful point.

There are ferns rising. 
They are signs of resurrection and life.
They bring new energy and growth that cannot be compared, predicted or measured.
They bring themselves, as they are, and that is always more than enough.

So instead I walk in the woods with my senses on high alert, grateful for the subtle and significant ways the forest is transforming for the sake of a rich and vibrant future.

Lord God, you call your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  - Evening Prayer, ELW

1 comment:

Carl Robie said...

What a blessing this is. Thanks Meta.