Monday, November 3rd
for Sunday, November 9th, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Matthew 25.1-13 “trimmed”
REFLECT: I’m the worst about getting my hair cut. Most of the time, I’m lucky if I can remember to do it twice a year. Sure, it grows out and looks awkward, but it’s easy to ignore by putting it in a messy bun or pony tail. Problem solved.
As infrequently as I think about cutting my hair, it surprised me that this was the image that came up when I first came across the word “trimmed”. Perhaps, though, that’s exactly why it came up; I don’t go frequently enough for “just a trim”.
As I continued reading and praying through this passage, another image came to mind. This time, I thought about the drastic pruning that my dad and I would enact upon our roses every year on New Year’s Day. We pruned them back to one third of their size. It was painful. And yet, pruning is not the same as trimming.
Reading through the passage a third time, the image of a topiary tree unfolded. Growing intricate plant sculptures like these takes time — and vision. It requires constant trimming to maintain the plant’s shape. When the plant is growing in a new direction that the gardener desires, no trimming may be needed for a time. When the plant has finally filled in that new area, doing exactly what the gardener wants it to do, constant trimming becomes a necessity. I’ll say it again, when a plant is growing in the right direction, constant trimming is required!
Put another way, when you experience God’s trimming in your life, it does not necessarily mean that you’re doing something wrong. Even as we grow, we require constant prayer, constant attention — both us attending to God and God attending to us.
RESPOND: God, help us not to shrink back when we feel the snips of your trimming shears. When our egos get in the way, remind us that we’re always growing and never finished. Forgive us our pride when we refuse to submit ourselves to your constant loving attention.
Think of an area of your life where you’ve felt discouraged, where despite putting forth time, effort and attention, you’ve encountered obstacles, frustrations or criticism. Many of us would take these minor pains as signs to stop and go in another direction. That may be true sometimes. But at other times you may be missing out on an opportunity for growth. Ask God for discernment in this area. Is it possible that a wounded or embarrassed ego is what is really holding you back?
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Joshua 24.1-3a, 14-15
1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.