Sunday, October 28, 2012


Last weekend my husband and children spent hours turning beautiful pumpkins into creative jack-o-lanterns. It was a great Saturday afternoon family activity, as they researched templates online and took great pride in their finished products.
Unfortunately, the joy was fleeting. It only took a few days for us to realize that we carved our pumpkins too soon.

This pitiful sight after school induced tears from 2/3 of my trio. It was especially frustrating because I had made a good faith effort to guard against the inevitable--applying diluted Clorox to the insides to slow the decomposition. Ironically, it seems that what I put inside in place of what was meant to be there, actually accelerated the decay.

I couldn't help but note the fanciest one was the first to go. It seems the degree of carving required to achieve the desired exterior design significantly weakened the infrastructure. The exterior that looked the most impressive had the most compromised interior. I was also poignantly reminded, it doesn't matter how well-crafted we appear, when we are empty inside we will begin to rot. And like my little Clorox concoction, substitutes for substance may work for a while--but eventually anything that is no longer living is in the process of dying instead.

I have read/heard the pumpkin gospel parable before with delight, but this year our rotten pumpkins gave us a different version. As I looked at those mushy, decomposing squash I saw a real picture of what happens when what is meant to be connected to the life giving vine is removed from its sustenance.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me & I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do NOTHING.” -John 15:5 The parable of the vine and the branches

Aren't we all guilty? Getting disconnected, crafting our own images, emptying ourselves and then trying to refill on artificial substances? We can end up, like my family's sad jack-o-lanterns, a stinky mess that collapses too soon...a far cry from the vibrant, substantive creation we were meant to be.

I am so grateful that this world tells the Gospel story over and over again through creation--and for the grace of God that allows me to see many of my mushy mistakes for what they are, confess, learn and start again anew.


historygirl1040 said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now, and it's one of my favorites! I love the way you see God and his lessons in seemingly everyday occurrences! Your posts have taught me to be more aware of God working in my everyday life. Thank you for sharing your experiences with honesty and humility!

Jeannie said...

I read several Christian blogs, Jen, but yours is the one the Lord uses to teach me the most. I love how you use see Truth in the ordinary events of life. You have a gift!