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December 11, 2017, 07:30:08 PM

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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
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Author Topic: Hope for the Flowers  (Read 2446 times)
Shylynne
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Oh that I might kiss the feet of God!


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« on: December 10, 2004, 08:50:56 AM »

There’s a children’s story called Hope for the Flowers about an ambitious caterpillar named Stripe who decided to go climbing - not a mountain but a pillar. Have you ever seen the way some caterpillars seem to form a wriggling mass on a plant, well this was a mountain of caterpillars all climbing over each other and trying to reach the top. As Stripe plunged into the pile and began his climb he turned to another one and asked ‘What’s at the top?’ ‘I don’t know’ said the other caterpillar ‘But it must be good because everybody’s rushing there.’

Stripe was pushed and kicked and stepped on from every direction. It was climb or be climbed. ‘Don’t blame me if you don’t succeed.’ he yelled at the competition. ‘It’s a tough life!’

Well, Stripe struggled towards the top, and then saw something disturbing - a tremendous pressure and shaking was sending many at the top crashing to their death below.

Stripe felt awful with this new knowledge. The mystery of the pillar was clearing - he knew now what must always happen on the pillar. Frustration surged through Stripe. But as he agreed that this was the only way ‘up’ he heard a tiny voice whisper ‘There’s nothing here at all!’ It was answered by another ‘Quiet fool! They’ll hear you down the pillar. We’re where they want to be. That’s what’s here.’

What a disappointment to find that there’s nothing at the top, and that it only looks good from the bottom? And yet that’s what the expectations of my generation were - to reach the top however hard the struggle might be to get there, but without being told what there was at the top. Without ever asking ‘Why am I doing this?’

This is no different than the Great American Dream, and this is the same dream that we are so often guilty of selling to our children. We want the same, if not better for them. My children have an expectation, based upon the life that they have now, and that expectation is that they will do as well if not better than we managed. And I admit that I would love them to be able to achieve that.

But is this right? Surely we have to ask ourselves as we send them off to University to take out student loans in order to survive, as they come out with their degrees into a shrinking job market already in debt, as they contemplate having to take on a job with only a short-term contract, and look around for somewhere to live and find they have to borrow vast amounts to buy a small house. Where debt, and a pocketful of credit cards is the accepted norm. Where uncertainty and long-term job security are a thing of the past - have we been as guilty as the door-to-door salesman of selling a lifestyle that is false?

There is only one answer to this dilemma, and it’s contained within the reading from Matthew’s gospel, and is rooted in the words of Jesus.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts then into practice is like the wise man who built his house upon the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock. But everyone who hears these words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the wind blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash.

The first Christians didn’t set out to impose the standards that God had made known to them on the rest of society. Rather they provided a living model to the rest of their community as to a better way to live - rooted and grounded on the rock of their faith in Jesus. And this is our defense against the variety of false teaching which rains down on us from every direction, the streams of frustration that seem so prevalent in today's society and threaten to engulf us, and the wind of change which tries to batter us into weakening our faith in the word of God.

We have to examine our own lives and our cherished lifestyle and hopes for our children, in the light of the teaching of Jesus, for the Christian lifestyle, based on love, compassion and often self-sacrifice, is often at odds with the lifestyle that the media is promoting. We can’t have both, sit on a fence dangling one foot into one camp and one into another.

At times we have sit back and take stock of where we are - struggling like Stripe the caterpillar up the pillar only to discover that the effort was for nothing, or busying ourselves cementing our foundations to the rock - hearing the words of God and putting them into practice in our lives.

© John Birch
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“Christianity isn't all that complicated … it's Jesus.”   — Joni Eareckson Tada

There is no force on earth as powerful as one human soul set ablaze with the Spirit of God -  Shylynne
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