Longing for the Green

“We are like birds on a branch. We don’t know if we are going to stay or go.” paraphrase
“No, we are the birds and you are the branch. If you leave, we lose our footing.” paraphrase

“We are like flowers. We don’t uproot and place ourselves in sun but we wait where we are and grow in spite of the light or dark.” paraphrase

Of Gods and Men tells the story of French monks living and serving the people of Algeria who have to decide whether to stay in or leave their monastery because of the radical Islamic’s murderous actions. As they speak to the faithful Muslim leaders about their possible departure, their thoughts stun and still them. A Muslim woman, from around the corner, articulates the gravity in which their dismissal would bring to their people: “If you leave, we lose our footing.”

At another point in the movie, when all the monks are of the same mind to stay and serve their people despite the risk, Cristian, the leader, relates their situation to the flowers of the field: “we wait where we are and grow in spite of the light or dark.”

As I watched this movie, I longed to be like these monks. I yearned for a similar community and resolve. I desired to serve Christ in such a tangible, purposeful way. I started to feel as if my service and my calling paled in comparison to the monks’ service.

Quickly, I tried to pound those fleshly thoughts out of my mind. For me, and I think it might be the same way with a lot of others like me, the easiest and most comfortable thing I could do as a Christian would be to move somewhere across the world and meet the needs of the poverty stricken. If that was my current calling, I don’t think I would wrestle with it or fight it. I would embrace such a noble and overtly Christ-like vocation.

But, you want to know what, God planted my seed elsewhere. He planted my seed at TCA and at Starbucks. Might I be elsewhere in six months? Possibly. The winds of change always pick up and blow the seeds of fruit unexpectedly. But at this very moment, I need to celebrate the fact that my roots firmly planted itself here. Praise God! I don’t know how or if or when I will be used by God, but that is ok. If I am a rake, He might choose the hoe. All to his glory.

I am a bow on your hands, Lord.
Draw me, lest I rot.
Do not overdraw me, Lord. I shall break.
Overdraw me, Lord, and who cares if I break.
-Nikos Kazantzakis

No matter if I believe at the moment, if my faithfulness is waning, if I want to uproot and plant myself directly in the sun wherever it shines — “who cares” — his Grace is sufficient.

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