This spring I was visiting a local nursery where I enjoy purchasing plants and struck up a conversation with one of the employees. We were sharing stories of what was growing well in the vegetable and flower gardens this year and I happened to mention that my hydrangeas were especially beautiful.
Several years ago a church member gave my husband and me a nice hydrangea that we carefully planted in a good spot for morning sun and afternoon shade, regularly watered and fertilized, seasonally pruned and mulched. This year it has been particularly vibrant in color and loaded with beautiful blooms and I was wondering if there was any reason after 3 years of minimal results. She quickly exclaimed of course, they are on the 3R cycle! The 3R cycle I questioned.
I’m no Master Gardener but my dad was an Agricultural Extension agent and I had never heard of this theory. She began to explain that some flowering plants have a cycle of rooting, resting and then rejoicing. Well now that makes a lot of sense to someone who spends a fair amount of time thinking about how things/people grow.
I’m still not convinced that a horticulturalist or my church friends in the Giving Back Garden would agree with this 3R theory, however, when thinking about how disciples grow in faith it is something to consider. Theology and scripture teach us to consider this sacred rhythm of being nurtured and formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ:
Grow deep in good soil through prayer, bible study and reflection, worship, community life together, service and justice work.
Ephesians 3:17-19, “that you being rooted and grounded in love may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, height and depth, and to know the love of Christ surpasses knowledge.”
Lay fallow in the ground, experience Sabbath, relax in God’s abiding love and grace, enjoy beauty, be still and breathe.
Psalm 91:1-2, You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
Produce life-giving, abundant fruit, give thanks and gratitude, forgive and be forgiven, find joy in the sacraments.
Galatians 5:22-23, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness and self -control.
I pray that the summer rhythm brings you many opportunities to enjoy growing in the Christian life both alone and with others. See you at church or online!