by Bob Wickizer

Perennials and Annuals
Bob Wickizer
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-13; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33

"...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

This is the time of year when many of us get outside to visit our lawn and garden stores. With winter officially behind us, I find it uplifting to go the greenhouse and just take in the sights of all those long rows of flowers. Any shopping trip to the garden center usually forces you to choose between perennials and annuals.

Given Jesus' reference to himself in John's Gospel and since we are today the Body of Christ we should consider two different church communities: the Annual Congregation and the Perennial Parish.

The Perennial Parish was tidy and trim. The grounds were shall we say "immaculate" and the interior was well maintained. The Sunday school rooms were freshly painted and the nursery had been completely refurbished. A few of the interior spaces were showing a little wear and people were already planning to update them. People took great pride in taking care of their Perennial Parish and they spent time and money making sure the Perennial Parish maintained its trim and tidy appearance.

Stewardship at the Perennial Parish was always a non-event. Sometimes a stewardship leader would volunteer to run the fall campaign and sometimes no one would volunteer. Either way the pledges came in with a nice predictable two to three percent increase year after year. Money in the Perennial Parish was managed conservatively so that a modest endowment had been created. If anything major happened to the building money would always materialize to take care of it. Outside of that there was always enough to keep things going but never enough for any major new programs.

The Perennial Parish was like a Bradford pear tree that had been planted years ago. Year after year it grew slightly until it reached the classic pe ...

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