By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
To cultivate something is to deliberately spend time and effort in order to nurture it. The gift of a garden can teach many lessons on this subject. Not only does it remind us of God’s gift of countless blessings all around just waiting for us to notice them, but it also points to the need to bloom wherever you are, offering yourself to God at the start of each day:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalms 8:3-9)
When I speak to groups about spiritual formation, the image of the flower (like that of the metamorphosis of a butterfly) is most helpful to describe the process of spiritual development. If we think of a severely wilted plant that is restored with re-potting and appropriate watering as a sign of possible spiritual restoration, then we are motivated to pray for the life-changing promise of transformation afforded by salvation for each person we meet. This means that there is hope for every life handicapped by dysfunctional patterns at home, or life choices, which greatly reduce a person’s ability to enjoy the health and wholeness intended by God for each one of us. This is why we are called to share the good news of the cross of Jesus Christ and the new life that it brings.
Our little ones need to be helped to appreciate the things of life that are of eternal value. There is much that money cannot buy for which to be thankful on a daily basis if we possess them: a strong faith, loving family, supportive friends, a fulfilling job, the gift of education. Whatever our blessings, let us take time to count them daily.
In times of great personal, national and international distress, it is imperative that we invite into our lives every accessible opportunity to celebrate life. Now more than ever, we cannot wait for others to make us happy but to seek the joy of the Lord for ourselves.
What are some of the things that you can do to make your life and that of your family more pleasant? Small things like candles, soft music, tasteful décor, and floral arrangements add gentle touches to any home. Of even greater importance is the use of softer tones, kinder words and gentler touches. Where it already exists let us be truly thankful. Where it does not exist let us pray for change to come.
How do we assist others to become more thankful? We can begin with meeting some of their material needs if we can, even as we seek to address their spiritual needs. We can ensure that we do not take the credit for thoughts and actions directed by the Holy Spirit, and lead them to give God thanks instead.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17).
Our faithful actions can bring the to faithful living.
Let us thank God for our country while working to bring transformation in the areas where change is greatly needed. Let us also cultivate our own spirit of thankfulness so that we may influence others to do the same.