“Confirm Thy Soul In Self-Control”
Scripture readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
May the words of my mouth & the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God our rock and our redeemer, Amen.
Isn’t it impressive to see some little plant growing in the crack of a sidewalk? Or maybe you’ve driven by a rock quarry and noticed trees growing on tiny ledges in the midst of sheer rock? Plants inspire us with their determination to live and grow. Some of them, exposed to wind and harsh conditions, get twisted and re-shaped by hardships, but live many years. That is the way the Japanese art of bonsai or small trees was born. The Japanese are moved by the survival, age and beauty of such trees, and they grow trees to imitate them. Four bonsai trees are here today.
Like plants, we too are survivors. We are in awe when we hear stories of our fellow humans surviving in prison camps or natural disasters, or cave and mountain climbing accidents, or a harsh and radical medical treatment. We wonder if our own drive to survive is that strong – and it usually is.
But good life in all the fullness, growth and maturity God intends is not just about survival. It’s also about being shaped, and bearing fruit. It involves choices and limits that are fitting for our lives. The good news is that God has put in place what we need to grow and mature if we’ll only use it. Just as plants have water and sunlight, we have food and shelter and families, and some rules that God has given about how to live well.