We lived in Connecticut and our apartment complex was surrounded by oak and maple trees. The red and orange colors of the leaves were spectacular in the fall. Our home in Maryland had oak, sycamore, and maple trees. We also had an apple tree with pretty white blossoms in the spring. My favorite bushes in our yard in Maryland were the lilac bushes. Their fragrance in the spring filled the yard and surrounding area. I loved to cut bunches of lilacs and bring them into the house.
Our years in California got us acquainted with desert plants that didn’t need a lot of water. Our yard had spanish lavender and lantana lavender with purple blooms, morning glory that was also purple, yellow and orange gazania, pink breath of heaven, and purple geraniums. We planted most of these during our time there, and watched them grow. Most of the years we lived in California there was a drought, so seeing natural things growing was a reminder of hope.
Now our home is in Idaho and we are learning about the different varieties of sagebrush – who knew there are so many? There is more of a four season climate here, so the plants are different than what we had in California. The landscaping of our yard was done by the previous owner, but after three years here, we are adding some of our own touches. We’ve planted purple phlox as a ground cover and yellow calibrachoa near some bushes to add color.
Each of the four states we’ve lived in has a different climate, scenery, and surroundings. Each location gave us experiences of that part of the country, special relationships, and natural surroundings that were unique to those areas. What is unique about this pandemic time that we are living through? There are many things that are different about it. We may not even fully understand its uniqueness until we look back on this time many years from now.
We as people of faith continue to act in hope during this challenging time. It is not easy, and that is why we need each other. We are still the body of Christ, even though we are not gathering in person. We are still the church, even though we are not in our buildings. We are the church community in our homes, through our relationships, through our care and love for one another, and through our hope in Christ. We’ve created many new ways of being together, and these connections can help to sustain us in the days ahead. We planted a lilac bush in our yard here the other day. It was an act of hope.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance, and his great power for us who believe.”
Ephesians 1: 18-19
Risen Lord, empower us to live as people of hope. Help us to trust that you are with us every step of the way. Lead us to plant seeds of hope in others, who may need extra care during this time. May hope take root in us and grow in ways we cannot imagine. AMEN.