A parable is literally something “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. The website Got Questions labels the 35+ parables that Jesus told as “inspired comparisons “and then adds that a common description of a parable is: “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning” -a definition from my childhood. Jesus often ended a parable by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This was his call to listen to the parables, not just as one would listen to an ordinary story, but as one who is seeking the truth of God. I hope that my little parables inspire that intent in you.
A few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law presented me with an amaryllis kit. The kit contained a an ugly brown bulb, a pot, and potting mixture. I have been gifted with blossoming amaryllis plants before and was told that they would bloom again, but I had to let the bulb dry out. In fact I had two pots with dried up ugly bulbs in the storage area of my garage which had come along with me the last time we moved. I had not known what to do with them to force them to bloom, but they were given to me by a special friend so I didn’t want to throw them away.
Now that I had the instructions for planting this new bulb, I decided to experiment with the two old bulbs; now I had three Amaryllis bulbs in pots. A few days later, I found another boxed Amaryllis plant outside my patio door – Fedexed by the same friend. I carefully potted this one too and put all four in my bedroom in indirect light and kept the soil damp (not wet) as the directions said. Soon two of them took off and produced stems that were several inches high. The other two followed suit a week or two later.
I became very attached to these plants. Every day I checked on them – some days more than once. I said encouraging words over them, hoping they all would bud and then bloom. On Christmas Eve the plant from my daughter-in-law produced a bud. On Christmas Day a red flower was beginning to peek through. Soon it will be in full bloom. I hope that in a week or so, all four will be blooming! When the blossoms die, I will put all four plants in the storage area of my garage and trust that the magic of nature (and a little water provided by me) will create four blossoming plants for Christmas.
This process sparked some parable-like thoughts about dead things that can be brought to the feet of God and recycled into blessings
♥ First, of course, I pictured my husband’s sick, wasted body and exhausted mind transformed into something new and beautiful after death. I have no idea when or how that will happen or what form it will take or what it will look like. But I trust that God will “water” Fred (and all our departed loved ones) so he will become as beautiful as my red amaryllis plants.
♥ Then I thought of the tradition of “bringing in the new year. ” The year 2o2o was as ugly a year as the brown bulbs covered with a crust of dried out leaves of my amaryllis plants, Surely we can hope and work so that out of the lessons and experiences of 2020 will blossom new dreams and possibilities as sturdy as the amaryllis stalks and as lovely as its flowers.
♥ Finally, I thought about how my selfish thoughts and actions can be redeemed by God’s grace and forgiveness and recycled into new acts of beauty and blessing. My dark sorrow and hopelessness can be refreshed by God’s spirit and turned into joy.
Once again the beauty of nature can bring us hope and redemption!