Clergy Associate

201020 08 1020050
The Rev. Joan Conley

Message from the Clergy Associate

The Kingdom of God is like a…. Spider Plant?

Last November as I went to visit longtime parishioner Barry Reid, there was a table set up in the building’s lobby to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s.  I could not resist the itty-bitty potted spider plant which they were selling alongside other items.  I hadn’t had a spider plant since the mid-1980’s, and it brought back lots of warm memories of large spider plants hanging in macramé baskets in sunny bedroom windows…  When I brought my tiny spider back to my office, I decided that it was only fitting that I should name it “Barry.”

Over these past months, I have had to re-pot “Barry” twice and will probably need to re-pot him again in the near future.  “Barry” just continues to flourish and has grown exponentially since I first brought him to St. Elizabeth’s.  It just tickles me to think of this as an image of our Barry, who entered his larger life later that November, flourishing in the “blessed rest of everlasting peace” and in the “glorious company of the saints in light” (BCP, p. 483).

And then came the babies!  I had forgotten all about the spider babies!  What a thrill to see that dangling shoot start to grow from “Barry” with a tiny baby on the end.  And I knew immediately that when that baby gets a bit bigger, I want to plant that and give it to Sarah, Barry’s granddaughter, after I have had a chance to show her the whole plant and its dangling shoot with even more babies beginning to grow on it now.

So maybe a spider plant won’t grow as large as a mustard tree, with branches providing nesting for birds, but it still is a wonder to see it grow and flourish so freely and to see it so sweetly creating a next generation which, in turn, will give birth to another generation, which, in turn, will….  Each of these babies will be potted and grow into their own full-sized plant, but before they do, while they are still attached to their parent, they will begin to grow their tiny roots. 

May we as individuals and as a community help in such flourishing of God’s kingdom.  May we help our children to grow strong roots, even if those roots might appear tiny in the beginning.  And may we give thanks for those who have gone before us and have given us our beginnings and our roots, and in their own ways have each contributed to the flourishing of God’s kingdom.

The Rev. Joan F. Conley
Clergy Associate

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Saint Elizabeth's Episcopal Church

169 Fairmount Road
Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450
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