During the month of May, I’ve enjoyed seeing the buds and flowers of spring as they work their way through our part of the world. It seems that God must want to draw out spring as long as possible, because different plants in our gardens, yards, and forests bloom and grow leaves at different times of this season. Some plants – annuals especially – have to develop their leaves first and only later produce flowers and fruit. Others, like bulbs or fruit trees, bloom early and worry about growing leaves later.

We might wish everything were tulips or dogwoods, with flowers that burst out even before the leaves show up, but much of life is more like a hosta. Not only do hostas fail to bloom right away, they can still look like a pile of dead leaves for quite a while after the daffodils have had their day in the sun. The trick, as if I had to tell you, is to notice and celebrate each new stage of growth.

Eventually, all these plants come back to life, flower, and set fruit. Flowers can come whenever they like, but it usually takes all summer to store up energy in fruit. This year’s flowers and leaves can come from last year’s energy, at least in perennials, but the plants have to look less grand while the fruit forms or bulbs grow to store energy for next year. Healthy growth is different during different seasons of the year.

In this newsletter, you will find a note from the Session about the season in which our church finds itself. It describes our current financial situation and explains that we have some difficult choices to make regarding our budget. There is no single set of right answers to the questions we face, and we’re wise enough not to look for simple solutions. Instead, I ask you to think and pray with the session and me about how we are called to make faithful use of the resources entrusted to us.

Remember, different parts of a garden grow in different seasons, and a change in our growth doesn’t mean that we’re dying. Even if it feels that our bloom is off, that’s still good news. It means that now is the time to set fruit, deepen our roots, and focus our energies on the next great step in our ministry together. Our church is not just one thing. The church includes many kinds of “plants,” and some might be getting ready to bloom now. If you have the energy to bloom in a new way, go for it. If you still need to absorb some new light from above, do that for now. It is Pentecost, after all – there’s no better time to soak in the goodness of God that energizes us to bear fruit.

As much as we love flowers, they serve a purpose bigger than themselves. Fruit typically develops only after the visible display of flowers ends. It’s during this nondescript growing season that our roots deepen because of the energy we receive from above. May the light and warmth of summer fill you with all the goodness and energy you can hold, and may our church continue to bear great fruit in our community!

In Christ’s peace,