Poetry and Images from a Christian

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Church Plant

Recently, the church I attend celebrated it's 175th anniversary. I was honored to be asked to write a poem for the celebration. I was asked months ahead of time, which was wonderful. Although I thought about it and wondered what to write and even prayed for some leading all along, I was at a loss for ideas, until two weeks before the event. That was when the anniversary committee hung a lovely banner in the narthex of the church announcing the theme, "Continuing Branches of Faith." As I mulled over this theme in prayer one morning, the words began to fall into place. I am happy with the result, because it is a word of encouragement and hope for the church as we face a time of great change. I hope you will find encouragement in it also.

The Church Plant

Jesus is the Vine,
The Life and Spirit
Of an ever-growing church plant.
You are a branch.
I am a branch.
We are all gently grafted into the Vine,
Nurtured by branches who came before our own.
The Life of the Vine,
The Spirit of the Vine,
Flows through your branch,
And my branch,
And many others,
Quickening each,
Bringing forth buds and fruit,
And still more branches
Are grafted to ours.
And the Spirit flows through all the branches.

Jesus creates and calls the branches,
Grafts them into His Vine,
Directs all growth.

Jesus waters and feeds
Each branch,
Loves each branch,
Tends the fruit of each branch,
Sees and cherishes
The love, joy, peace,
Patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
He finds on each fragile limb.
Jesus trains and prunes each twig
For still more fruit.

You are a branch,
I am a branch
Thriving in the Vine,
Growing side by side,
Even intertwined,
Humbly interdependent,
Together joyously dependent
Ever and always
On Jesus,
The Vine.

I am strengthened by the Life in you,
You are strengthened by the Life in me,
As we live and work in the great plant,
Our roots in the Father,
Our life in the Son and the Holy Spirit,
The Vine and the Gardener.

We sway in the wind of voices saying,
"The church is a dying institution,"
Even as we feel and see and hear
The Spirit and the Life
Flowing through our branches,
Even as we hear Jesus calling,
See Jesus moving in the lives
Of our brothers and sisters
In the great plant.
We know Jesus lives.
We know He is eternal.
We know we must thrive on in Him.
He wills it.
We will it with Him.

We live and work and pray in Him,
Let us live and work and pray in Him,
"Nurture our branch, Oh Lord,
Tend Your church plant.
Train and prune each limb, each twig.
Increase the beauty and bounty of our fruit.
Graft in,
Do graft in
New branches.
Let Your life and Spirit
Flow through us to nurture them.
Let there be
No dying,
No end."

Bleeding Heart is one of my favorite plants. It's name and heart shaped blooms remind me that Jesus loved us so much he was willing to shed his blood and die to save us.