Pause

Have you ever waited for a day with such expectancy that you could hardly contain your joy? We endure the waiting time, knowing what is to come will overshadow anything that came before.

This kind of longing also shows up in our spiritual lives. During the season of Lent we wait for what we know is coming but is not here yet.

I invite you, as we endure the hard days ahead, to lean into the darkness before the light, sit with the sorrow before the joy, and relish the silence before the trumpets and Alleluias.

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Listen

Jesus told this parable: “A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He said to his gardener, ‘Look, I’ve come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I’ve never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil’s nutrients?’"

Luke 13:6-7

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Think

When we bought our house six years ago the previous owners had taken great care in planting beautiful hydrangeas, roses, ferns, and more. There was even a garden set up in the backyard. But you see, I am a city girl and had never cared for flowers or bushes — much less planted a garden.

So I began learning by trial and error. Through the years I’ve discovered that plants can be a difficult bunch — there can be good years and bad, some need pruning, some need “sister” plants to pollenate properly, and some grow more than you planned. I learned that fruit trees take years to actually produce fruit. The tree has to sink in, acclimate to the soil, soak in water, and become truly grounded.

We are like the fruit trees. We need time. We have to extend roots and acclimate to our earthly surroundings. We are in it for the long haul. And God is like the gardener giving us time to grow and endure. God doesn’t give up on us!

Katie Gilbert

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Pray

Thank you God for not giving up on me. Help me to know that even when I am like the fig tree, you are always the gardener tending the soil around me, giving me time, and encouraging me to keep going. Amen.

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Go

God is teaching us.
We endure through so much—
through time, through pain,
through joy and sorrow,
sunshine and rain,
And sometimes the boring everyday.

But God is teaching us.
Love remains.
Mercy is wide.
Grace abounds.
The Alleluias are coming…

And God is teaching us.
Inviting all of us on the journey.
Enduring, overcoming,
growing, changing, becoming.

Katie Gilbert

Rev. Katie Gilbert currently serves as Director of Outreach and Invitation at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, AL. She enjoys spending time with her husband Matt, her 9 month old daughter Harper, and their crazy Boston Terrier, Lennon. They love to travel the world, eat good food, and spend time with family.

Walking Toward Morning: Where Cross the Crowded Ways

Ken Medema - kenmedema.com

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