Dear Saints,

If you have taken exit 44 on Route 287 (north bound) anytime in the last 6 weeks, I wonder if you have seen anything unusual or ‘out of place’.  What I’m referring to is the vine growing on the guard rail on the left-hand side of the off ramp.

Initially I thought it might be a zucchini vine and considered harvesting a few of the blossoms (a delicacy that chefs pay large sums for) Then I realized it would be both a safety issue and a health issue in harvesting a few of them, given their location.

I’ve since come to believe that the vine is indeed not a zucchini, given that it is fall, it is still blooming, and the blossoms are actually too large to be zucchini. Yes Charlie Brown, it’s a pumpkin! Each day that I come to church I look forward to seeing its’ progress and keep marveling at its’ tenacity to grow, in the midst of this very unlikely and unfavorable environment. The vine is deep green, healthy and the blossoms are gorgeous, big, orange flowers.

This pumpkin vine is a sign that reminds us that God begins new life and supports growth even against all odds. At a time of year when we are slowly letting go of our grip on summer, trying to ‘keep it all together’ in the spin of a new school year, contending with deeply distressing political headlines, destructive storms, and worried for our children’s lives and choices, this pumpkin vine reminds us: God will find a way where there seems to be none. The Spirit blows new seeds of opportunity where we least expect it and “Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from him, we can do nothing. (John 15)

May you be inspired to take exit 44 to see this “vine-sign”.  May you trust that God has planted many seeds in you, even if you are unaware of them. And may you stop and take notice of even the smallest of gifts God has blessed you with and find a way to plant the seeds of the gospel.

Planting with you in Christ,