The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


God's watering can

Grace pours freely from it

One day soon after an explosion of conflict in the church I was serving, I found myself in a gift shop full of garden items. I noticed several small watering cans. My observing turned into praying: O God, pour your grace on me now. I bought three.

Within weeks I had a watering can in every room in the house to remind me of God's grace freely poured on me. And they prompted me to pay attention to those moments of grace that come even amid suffering.

I had a watering can in my car, one in my office, and another to wear as a necklace. On the Sunday I announced I would be leaving the congregation, I wore watering-can earrings with the spouts facing inward so grace, in the form of strength and courage, was being poured into my heart and soul.

But when I actually entered the exile experience of a leave of absence from parish ministry, my watering cans no longer reminded me of grace — but only of the betrayal and shattered trust I felt. I put them away.

As God called me back to pastoral ministry, I put my watering cans back on my plant stand, piano and countertop and in the car as reminders of God's grace.

My first Sunday in a new congregation I joyfully placed my largest watering can on the altar. With new confi- dence, I proclaimed again the good news of God's love, healing and grace. God's watering can is always full.


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February issue


Embracing diversity