Pastor Leslie

Pastor Leslie

This Week in Worship

Bloom Where You’re Planted
Jeremiah 29:1,4-7
Rev. Dr. Leslie Taylor

Many years ago, I would crochet, do needlepoint and counted cross-stitch. I am reclaiming some of those relaxing skills as I practice better self-care. I remember one of the pieces I cross-stitched was based upon the artwork of Mary Engelbreit that simply said, “Bloom Where You’re Planted” and had a picture of a house, a garden, and a young woman with a watering can. At our house in Ohio, we had 15 flower beds. The piece was perfect for my life then.

“Bloom where you are planted.” It's a saying not hard to understand, but perhaps harder to do! Bloom where you are planted? For the flower, it's easy. It can't help it! It's going to grow and blossom wherever the seed falls. But for a person? Sometimes we close ourselves up and pull the flower petals in tight and declare, “No way am I going to bloom!” Sometimes when we are far away from where we want to be. Sometimes when we are in a place that is strange and troubling and difficult and fearful. Sometimes it feels like it is just too hard to bloom.

The Jewish exiles in Babylon had every reason, every right, to refuse to bloom where they were planted! The year is 594 BCE. Jerusalem is still standing, it still is ruled by one of its own, a descendant of David named Zedekiah, but he is firmly under the thumb of Nebuchadnezzar, the powerful king of Babylon. The situation is awful, and the exiles feel abandoned by God. They are lied to and deceived by the people who have power over them. So, Jeremiah sends the exiles a letter. Jeremiah was one of those left behind in Jerusalem, but he has not forgotten his compatriots in exile. He sends them a letter, telling them to settle in and settle down! "Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children …"

When have you found it difficult to bloom where you are planted? How did you choose to bloom anyway?

See you Sunday!
Pastor Leslie

The way we worship is the way we live.

Worship is the work of the people, bringing together our fullest selves in a communal act of love and gratitude.  Each voice is important; each person is valued as the Spirit draws out our authentic gifts and talents, shared in the ever-widening circle of God’s people.  We hope you’ll join us this week as we gather to worship the God of extravagant welcome.