Monday, April 14, 2014

Weeds

I have been thinking about weeds a lot these last couple of weeks.  That and myriad other seemingly random thoughts of the past few days - Ephesians 1-2, Genesis 3, Palm Sunday, The Lord’s Supper, The Well House, “Before the Throne of God Above”, “What Wondrous Love is This”, “What Not to Wear”, to name just a few.  Shake it all together, and out comes this blog post.

Weeds.  Unwanted plants.  Wild plants that spring up in our garden.  We work hard to pull them up, cut them down, poison them and get rid of them.  They grow faster and stronger and spread more quickly than the flowers, grass and vegetables that we deliberately try to grow. 

Emily has been working on a project for Biology class foraging wild plants for food, so we have been researching, gathering, drying, cooking, eating and drinking - weeds.  This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never taken time to learn. Fortunately for Emily, her project hit me at a moment when I actually had the time to help her.  Well, ok, not just help her, but continue it on into a bit of an obsession for myself.  We’ve picked violet flowers and leaves and eaten them in salads.  We dried them, along with dewberry leaves, and made tea.  We ate wilted dandelion greens, fried dandelion flower fritters, and boiled dandelion buds.  This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  Free healthy food, hikes through yard, brush and field, and an excuse to not feel bad about not mowing.  My next project is a healing oil for your skin made of violets and plantain.  Along the way I’ve also planted some herbs, vegetables and ornamentals, planted a terrarium of pretty weeds, and cut vases of wild flowers to enjoy in my house.  Yes, this has been fun.

Yesterday as I picked violets and leaves to dry for tea, I thought about all those other things I’ve been thinking about that I listed in the first paragraph, and I remembered the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  A woman living in a world that looked down on women in general.  A Samaritan, whom the Jews looked down on.  An outcast living in sin, isolated and alone.  When Jesus looked at her, what do you think He saw?  A weed to be pulled up and discarded, or a beautiful and useful plant?  With a little love and nurturing by Him, she became something lovely, something good for healing, something nourishing.  God used this weed, this outcast on the fringe of society, to introduce an entire town to Jesus. 
I have to tell you that we were ALL weeds.  We were the wild shoots that have been grafted into the Vine.  We were the Gentiles the Pharisees looked down upon.  And I am afraid that now that we are “in”, we might have forgotten the field of weeds we left behind.  We might have become the Pharisees looking at those on the “outside” as being undesirable.  We might have forgotten who we were. 

Ephesians 2 should be a wakeup call.  You were DEAD.  A wild dead thing, fit only to be thrown out.  But God.  BUT GOD.  That grips me and won’t let me go.  God raised me from the dead, IN CHRIST, and seated me WITH CHRIST in Heaven.  Because Christ died and lived, I also live.  I live IN CHRIST.  Chapter 1 tells me that I have EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, IN CHRIST.  Over and over and over, it says I am IN CHRIST.  I have been saved by grace, through faith, IN CHRIST.  Not for anything I have done, which is a really good thing since I can’t possibly do anything good enough, but for what Christ has done.  According to the plan He formed before time began, He created me and He saved me, so that I could walk in the good works He planned for me to do, IN CHRIST.
I may be a weed.  I may not look like much, I may even look like I don’t belong in the garden.  BUT GOD had a plan for something different.  And I pray that He would make me as lovely as that little unpretentious violet, and as nourishing and fierce and tenacious as that dandelion, and perhaps through me HE will invade this world.
 

©Rebecca A Givens, 04/14/14
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