Another parishioner gave me a maidenhair fern. It had been my predecessors she said and had had to look after it and nurse it back to health. Now I had a second pot plant one with ties to the history of St Peter's... Can I say I felt real pressure.
I've managed to keep them alive and doing well for the past four years. With advise from parishioners like "I'd over watered it" or "not watered it enough". The Maidenhair seemed to thrive more at times than others. However over summer, while I was away on Holiday the maidenhair did a big die back... I though I'd managed to kill it... I'd come in once a week and watered it but it just didn't seem enough. When I came back to my office after three and a bit weeks it was totally brown.
I watered it that first day and the next and I noticed amidst the old brown dead bits that two then three little green tendrils appeared. then a few more followed as I continued to water it. I cut back the dead stuff round them. Then these tendril started to sprout leaves and become fern like. The plant is making a come back with strong new growth.
I couldn't help but think about ministry in a small suburban parish in post Christian New Zealand. Very often we can concentrate on the die back, the negatives and the hardships. The old does die back, we can be despondent and give up watering and feeding and pruning. But we can also miss the regrowth and the new growth. It may seem small and insignificant at first, but if we persist in being faithful it can grow back.
I sensed encouragement for 2017... there is growth and newness. It needs to be watered and nurtured and will grow and become healthy.
I'm told the Peace Lilly need to be re potted and then it will prosper and bloom... Hmm I wonder what that has to say?
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
- 1 Corinthians 3:6-7