Each of my daughters received a rose-bush for her baptism. Moriah was baptized on All Saints’ Sunday (November 1), and I had a tiny tea rose-bush to keep alive all winter. It was a lovely gesture, but that winter nearly killed it, between the too-sunny window in which I placed the rose, and the intermittent watering it received. The next summer, things calmed down in my life, and I pruned it back a bit and planted it in the earth, where the watering was a little more frequent. And how it grew! Moriah’s baptism rose was the one plant we excluded from the sale of our house, and we transplanted it to the new house two years later, where it thrived in afternoon sun.
SweetP’s rose-bush was planted at the new (now old) house between two other, larger bushes. In the spring it got plenty of light, but as the summer wore on, the larger bushes shaded it, and though it bloomed, it was hard to find them among all the green around it. We sometimes forgot to look for its beauty and sweet fragrance.
Both bushes were excluded from this summer’s house sale, and I dug them up and put them in pots which now sit outside my mom’s house by her clematis bush. Both roses died back, looking dead after the trauma of being dug up. I know I badly damaged the root of Moriah’s bush– being so much larger than SweetP’s, the root was deep and fat and I couldn’t pull it out whole. SweetP’s bush came back in September with full leaves, but the most Moriah’s rose has managed so far are two green trunks. I pray those will sprout new growth in the spring. Winter is coming, and I will have to move them to the basement, because I think the pots are not going to be enough protection from December wind and cold.
My faith is so much like those two roses. It started came as a gift, started very small, but put out fragrant blossoms almost from the beginning. It depends not only on the soil around me, but on my tending it. Nurturing it. And as I know, the “worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” (Matt 13:22) so frequently choke the growth out of me.
When I water those roses and prune them, I pray for our faith. For each of us, that the gift of our faith, like the gifts of our baptism, will grow and produce a crop for the Kingdom.