Breaking for Growth

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Garden of Gethsemane window at All Souls by Clement Heaton, 1924.

Sometimes things need to break.  A plow breaks open the land so that seeds can be planted.  An egg breaks open to allow for birth.  Old structures, pavements, and plantings have to be broken so that new things can be built.  This Sunday at All Souls, we break ground, and even though the rupture brings with it a certain amount of trauma, this is only natural.

Most people who have a fulfilling relationship with another person—unless it’s a rare first love—can point to a breakup that at some point and in some way made room for the current relationship.  The breakup was painful.  One wondered if the hurting would go away.  And yet, even though it could not yet be perceived, something new was coming.  God is Creator, first and foremost.  It’s God’s nature to make things new.

This summer, it has been hard to watch the demise of our meditation garden behind the church.  Plants have been moved and taken away.  Some have been allowed to die.  Others have gone the way of the seasons and a few have been chopped down early to allow us more room for our ceremony this weekend.  The breaking apart of the garden is painful, but it will allow for a new garden to grow.

Surely, there will be other painful “breaks” in the coming days.  In the church, our Garden of Gethsemane stained glass window—with its wonderful purple olive trees— will be removed.  Later, it will be installed in the new addition, but I will miss it in the meantime. Stones will be dislodged and pavement and walkways broken up.  The demolition and construction will be loud, messy, dusty, and frustrating, and we will all be inconvenienced in some way.  But the breaks are necessary and they will allow for something much greater to come. 

When Jesus shared the Passover meal with his friends, he said, “This is my body, which is broken for you.”  Little did the disciples know that a body soon to be broken would also be changed and resurrected. May God give us faith and strength for the breaking of ground, for the brokenness we encounter in our world, and for the healing power of creation into new life.  

About John F. Beddingfield

Rector of The Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) in New York City on East 88th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave.
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