First United Presbyterian Church

Romans 13:11-14

Romans 13:11-14

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Some years squash bugs ravage our squash vines. The seeds germinate, leaves burst from strong stems, all looks hopeful and thriving, and then the bugs arrive. We squish them, they scamper, they hide. War is waged. The leaves wilt, the vines turn yellow, we get a runty squash or two. We sigh and pick okra.

This year we had a marvelous squash harvest. The bugs didn’t come, the borers stayed away. Squash vines sprawled across the garden, heaving out blooms. Baby squashes plumped in the sun, turning golden, fat and stripey. Along their vines, squashes basked like walruses on a beach, contented, expansive, lovely. The more I admired them, the more I felt they carried a message to me.

For thirteen years I’d had a spiritual practice that provided regular contemplative time and a sure sense that I was intimately connected to God – my beloved vine.  When Covid came and the Healing Touch ministry shut down, I lost that discipline, and truthfully, I felt like I’d lost my way. I guess this was my spiritual squash borer moment when my connection to Christ was wobbling.

In the garden, my squash were saying to me—”Look at us! We’re flourishing, nourished by our vine. You need to find a way to recover that abiding sense of connection to your Creator. You know what time it is. Paul is right—the night is far gone, and the day is near. Now is the time to deepen your relationship with God. Now is the time to bask again in the love of the true vine, and to grow fruitful.” So, after some trial and error, I took up again an ancient practice of centering prayer, and it has brought me back into communion with my vine. The present is always the moment for us to wake from spiritual slumber. Each journey into communion with God is different. Each path requires discipline, commitment, and love. Nothing in life is more important.

Lord, let the pattern of my life, the course of my days, be inexplicable apart from the intervention of the Risen One. Let Jesus Christ be the sole justification for my life. — Michel Bouttier


Contributed by Jane Steinkraus

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