Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by the water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NRSV)
But strive first for the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 (NRSV)
Earlie Pasion-Bautista is from Isabela in the Philippines. One morning she arrived at church before anyone else and had to wait, She decided to harvest mansanitas from a tree in front of the church and began reflecting on God's grace. She started to view the tree, with its red, green, and pale orange fruits, as a symbol of God's grace.
No one planted this tree; it just sprouted here. But it shaded the church foyer and provides fruit for the children who come to church. For some time now, only a few people have come to church because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet even with no one to water it, this tree has continued to grow and bear fruit while also offering a home to many birds and insects. God has sustained the tree, and the tree sustains the lives of others. What an image of grace!
The tree is blessed as it blesses others. When Earlie was blessed to be able to pick fruit from the tree, she shares it with her two children waiting at home. Her firstborn has asked her to bring home the fruit every Sunday because it makes him feel as if he and his brother also went to church. Although her children miss going to church, through the mansanita fruit Earlie is able to extend a bit of God's grace to them.
Prayer: God our provider, teach us to know your grace, even through the smallest fruit that you provide in your creation, in Jesus' name. Amen.