Foundation for that which Is yet to Be

Tuesday, August 12

8-12By David Nii of Centennial, Colorado, USA

Listen carefully to your own journey as a people, for it is a sacred journey and it has taught you many things you must know for the journey yet to come. Listen to its teachings and discover anew its principles. Do not yearn for times that are past, but recognize that you have been given a foundation of faithful service, even as you build a foundation for what is yet to be.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:2a, b

An image from my Dad’s backyard flashed in my mind when I heard these words of counsel in a worshipful reflection. The image was of a young graft of an avocado tree.

While growing up, I saw Dad make many grafts of avocado trees. To graft, he slipped a cutting from a plant with the aspired-for fruit into the growing layer of another plant that had a strong and mature root network. This creates a join between the strong root stock and the newly emerging limb of the fruit plant.

For the new limb to thrive, the grower needs to cut back the limbs of the original root stock. The root stock provides the foundation, and the new shoot provides the fruit.

Grafting is a simple but powerful image for me of how a foundation of sacred history provides the nurture necessary for new branches of mission to emerge and thrive. We make the future possible by standing on the strong roots of our past. For the new adventure of experience and ministry to thrive, we must prune back the past and live on through its role as foundation. Sacred journey is a beautiful blend of foundation and newness.

Avocado tree grafts take many years before they bear fruit. The last graft Dad made was a few weeks before he had a stroke that limited his physical abilities for the rest of his life. At 94 years old, he will never enjoy the fruits from his last graft. He knew he wouldn’t see the end-product of his labors, the goodness of what is yet to be. Nevertheless, he grafted. I celebrate all those who live as strong foundation and continue to graft because they are witnesses for the sacred journey.

Prayer for Peace We are listening, God. We are open to discovering you anew. From our enduring foundations we prepare room for new growth. Bless us with an active part in Christ’s mission.

Spiritual Practice: All that Lives Take a walk and find a tree where you can sit (or imagine walking and sitting beneath a tree). Lean against the tree and feel the texture of the bark. Listen to the wind move through the leaves. Sit quietly and sense God’s presence flowing through the tree and all creation. Offer a prayer of gratitude for your connection to all that lives. Ask for grace to discern and carry out one small act of justice or healing that creates greater wholeness for the plants, animals, trees, waters, air, and land that are part of the community of creation.

Peace Covenant Today, God, from my firm foundation I will branch out in service for Christ’s peace.

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3 Comments

  1. Judy H Scott

     /  12 August 2014

    Dave – as I struggle to figure out what pieces of our past lives to hang on to and what to free myself of I appreciate your insight into the possibility of that being a liberating, freeing experience. Thinking of you in your new role of service in the church and wishing you well.

  2. Patricia Cole

     /  12 August 2014

    What an excellent way to describe how our past is always part of our future.

  3. Karen Hurchinson

     /  12 August 2014

    Dave what a wonderful image for building on the past. We have that strong root stock and that is what gives the strength and courage to produce new fruit. Thanks for expanding my vision. Karen

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