Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
The clematis that covers the back wall of the house in summer with deep purple blooms has been in place for a number of years and so is well rooted. This means that after flowering we were able to cut it down to a few inches from the ground to enable it to conserve energy for the coming season. In the last few weeks it has been sending up stems enthusiastically towards the sky. To support itself the plant will use its tendrils to grasp onto anything in its upward path. We have provided a wooden framework against the wall to assist it, but nevertheless, it will just as happily take hold of the rose bushes growing alongside or indeed anything else within reach! To get it into some kind of shape in order to show itself off to the best advantage it does need tying in to the firm supports provided for it. A never ending task that I must get on with when the rain stops!
Perhaps our spiritual lives are a bit like that. In our race for the skies; to be recognised as someone, to acquire wealth or status, do we grasp on to anything that appears strong enough to support us, only to be disappointed when it fails? We may feel our faith is well rooted but do we need some training, some tying in to the strong support of God to support us on our journey? Almost certainly!
Now is the season of renewal so that like the tying in of the clematis bush, the disciplines of Lent will bring with them the promise of renewal. The bush will not flower for several months yet but the attention given to it will, I hope produce a much better show. In the same way, Jesus offers us that same possibility, a truly better and more fulfilling life in Christ, when we approach him with a contrite heart. As St Paul wrote from prison: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years