Readings: Isaiah 53:1-6, Romans 10:1-10, Matthew 16:13-17
Beautiful Surprise
The reading from Isaiah 53 contains this passage about the Messiah to come, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.” Since the Scripture can refer to Messiah as a tender shoot, a rose, root, branch and vine, I’m fairly confident I won’t offend by using an orchid as a messenger. We received a beautiful, blooming orchid plant in the church office about three years ago. It didn’t bloom again. The green leaves were sturdy and we hoped it might surprise us with flowers each year. Nope. But this year – it’s a miracle – fabulous bloom! Two tender shoots came from the stalk planted in dry bark. I’ve been raving about it like it is some prize-winning plant from a flower show. I need to get out of the office more – being this excited about an orchid is slightly crazy. Still, it’s a beautiful surprise after three years of hoping. And wasn’t the Messiah coming forth, growing His disciples and His church for three years, a teeny tiny bit like a plant taking three years to send forth its marvelous shoot? And then the miraculous blooming, one flower at a time, one disciple at a time, until the little old orchid presented a delicate array of perfect white flowers, and Jesus presented an array of perfected disciples to His Father through His blood. Similarly, He presents us washed clean and makes us holy through His loving sacrifice, too. And then the explosion of hope, every perfect flower united on the tender shoot. Brave for the day, hopeful for all tomorrows. Resurrection! A beautiful surprise after three years of growing and waiting and hoping. Hope to see you Sunday when Steve Cohen will talk to us about the Messiah and Judaism, and how we might be used by the Spirit to plant the tender shoot in someone’s heart. What a miracle when He makes it bloom! Blessings to you! —Tracy