7-13-17 - Love Amid Thorns

In the parable Jesus tells about seeds taking root or withering, depending on where they fall, many of the forces that imperil them are by-products of a location, not the location itself – the birds that can pick seeds off a path, the sun that can scorch them on rocks. But now we come to a place which itself imperils a seed: “Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.”

When we try to plant the seeds of sacrificial love and other-directedness amid a thicket of competing claims… look out.

We sow love in a very thorny landscape. The cares of the world and the lure of wealth, to which Jesus likened the thorns in his story, are very strong in our culture, while traditional moral and religious norms have become weaker. Some churches respond to diminishing fruitfulness by trying to place the benefits they offer among those other lures – “Look at the return you can get for your investment here!” Really large ones offer their own version of the competition, church-based banks, health clubs and the like.

The competing claims of wealth, family, security, recreation, status are a given. How might we embrace those goods without worshipping them?

What most chokes your desire to be connected to God?
For me, it's time and the to-do list. It can also be success – getting what you’ve always wanted. Even loved ones can choke our desire for God instead of directing us to that love.

What can we do about that? How might we invite Jesus into our time management, our to-do lists, our relationship priorities? Some people set timers to remind them to stop and pray. Others make sure to take a prayer walk each day.

If our relationships or our work loom larger than our God-connection, maybe we can invite God to be more fully a part of those areas in our lives, and figure out how.

Today, let’s contemplate the thorns in which we occasionally find ourselves, and pray for them to be transformed into roses. God has an amazing way of taking what we offer, and not removing it from our lives, but consecrating it for us, making it holy, as God is ever making us holy.

We need not fear the choking thorns when we turn daily to the source of our breath.

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