Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 38

Friday, March 26 – Branches … Grafting in New Life – By J. Cameron

Nehemiah 8:13-18 … bring branches
Psalm 104:12-17 … they sing among the branches
Matthew 21:6-11 … Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord
Romans 11:17-18 … you have been grafted in

They were a wild shoot, grafted in among the others, seeing some of their branches being broken off. The Romans Paul was writing to were far away from the Holy Land, birthplace of the movement they had joined, and persecuted by the authorities of their own society. Remember, Paul says, you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

I see the quiet, important pastoral work carried out by my church and the friendship and deep bonds of love created among its people. I rejoice in thoughtful preaching and inspiring music. Our building is a wonder of architectural symbolism and modern design. These are all things I treasure and support.

Yet, my faith is both challenged and renewed when my church grows towards people that have been broken off from society or when it reaches out to graft in something new that needs nourishing sap and access to our deep, supportive root.

We are not only called to protect what has been bequeathed by the intrepid bravery of those who have gone before us. We seem often to identify with the grafted branch, feeling persecuted and far away from power in our society. It is also true that we are like Paul and his supporters, who knew that the root is strong enough to support more branches and new grafts. There is risk, but it pales in comparison to what Paul and the other Roman Christians were risking. The result has been a massive, branching tree of churches.

The branch grafted in is nourished and supported by God. New grafts reshape our future again and again so that we can become what God longs for us to be.

For Reflection and Journaling:
1. What branches of the church renew my faith?
2. In what way might God be calling me to branch out?

Meditative Prayer:

God of all that is, I give thanks this day for the love you show me through scripture, history and faith.
Open me to the places where you are grafting us into your new possibilities. Amen.