I certainly do not have a green thumb. What I do know, though, is if I do not prune these roses they will not be as full in the spring; their growth will be slowed. If I want the flowers to achieve their boldest and brightest potential, what is dead and dry should be cut away.
The agrarian metaphor is a good one for the season. Advent is a time to consider what it means for both individuals and faith communities to be pruned by the One who dwelled among us to shape us more into the likeness of God. It is a sacred time to ask, where can angst and fear, greed and divisive speech be cut away so contentment and love, generosity and welcome can bloom? Where can lust for power and thirst for control be snipped so equity and human dignity can grow boldly and beautifully? How can aggression and deceit be hacked so peace and truth telling can blossom? Will we dare allow busyness to be trimmed to make room for play, advocacy, or small acts of kindness offered to a neighbor...or an enemy? Will we let invasive bitterness to be thinned out just enough for grace and forgiveness to flourish? There are so many more pruning questions to ponder as we get our hands dirty and trust the Spirit to cultivate new life among us- even within and through us. Advent is a good time to ask them.
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