Thorns and Thistles
Elizabeth Bates of Fair Haven, VT, USA
You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles -Matthew 7:16
Thistles in bloom are absolutely some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Their long slender stalks reach up as if they are trying to touch the sky. Oh, I will never forget the silver prickles on their leaves and stems that seem to defy gravity. The blossoms are soft lavender which gives the entire plant an almost ethereal appearance. But there is a slight problem: thistles are extremely aggressive weeds that will choke out everything else in a field. They are a farmer’s nightmare. Animals cannot graze on them or walk among them. Remember, they have prickles.
There are basically four ways to get rid of thistles. First, you can try chemicals. Sadly, pesticides will also kill indigenous grasses and poison your land, making your field unfit for grazing. Second, you can mow your field, but if there are any seed pods you might still have thistles. Third, you can cut them down and burn the field before they go to seed, but the plant’s root is still growing underground. Finally, you can dig up the root and pull it out. Unfortunately, this is the only effective method of getting rid of thistles. It is hard, hot, dirty work. When you pull up a thistle, it almost feels as if the plant is holding on to the dirt.
But I like thistles because they remind me of who I am without Jesus. You see, sin in my life is just like that thistle. I repent-walk away from the sin-but it fights to come back. Sometimes it doesn’t look like sin; it looks like a beautiful plant, but is just a weed. If I allow it to go unchecked it will choke out the Word of God.
God, you know my heart. There is nothing I can hide from you. Please forgive me for my sins. Help me, God, to be the person you created me to be.
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.