Gather ’Round the Dogwood

Monday, July 21

7-21By Peggy Michael of Cantonment, Florida, USA

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing…If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

—John 15:4–5, 7 NRSV

A small pile of tree trimmings outside the main lodge became a parable. Not wanting a single harbinger of spring to go to waste, the campground manager gathered a huge bouquet of blossoming dogwood branches for the dining room. We drank in their beauty each time we passed the table.

Early in the week we gathered there for an evening meal. As we did, a disturbing phone call told us of a terrible car accident. The parents were in line with us, and we shared their concern. The accident seriously injured several members of their family, including small children. This was all the information we had at the moment.

Each one in the room formed a circle of support as we petitioned God to bless the injured parents, grandparents, and small children. Love and concern flowed from heart to heart, and tears wet our cheeks. We waited for more information.

In the hours ahead, encouraging news trickled in. Though the injuries were serious, none was life-threatening. In time, each one would recover. Hope and assurance of God’s love permeated the entire reunion. With one heart and one mind we celebrated the blessings and mercy of God to us.

Together we clung to the giver of life with all of our might, mind, and strength. Like the broken dogwood branches revived in the fresh water, the living water of Jesus Christ restored us.

Prayer for Peace Creator God, help us center our being in the path beside the Living Water. Let it flow over us as we accept the mission to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Vessel for Living Water Imagine a vessel at the center of your being (a clay jar, a crystal vase, a metal bucket, or other container). Imagine drawing something from the bucket to share with someone, but as you reach inside you find only a tiny pool of stagnant liquid. You are thirsty, dry, empty. Then something clear and cool begins to pour over you. It splashes and tumbles into the vessel, filling it to the brim. The living water of Christ pours on and in you. Your vessel fills and runs over, blessing your body and soul. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving and commitment to share living water with others.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will share from the overflow of the Living Water.

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