Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection is from contributing writer and sponsor Maureen Lunn.
Autumn has arrived in the United States. Soon the trees will turn colors followed by leaves browning and dying, paving the way for new life in the Spring. Where I live in New Mexico, this cycle is particularly striking to me as the aspen trees paint the mountainside in solid bright yellow, making the unmistakable change from green to gold to the eventual brown of winter.
In the science world, the seasonal rhythm of trees creates what’s called a feedback loop, where vital phases put positive input into the system — oxygen in growth, minerals in death and a lot of natural cyclical processes in between.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses a horticultural image to describe the reciprocal relationship that exists between the divine and humanity:
“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5).”
Jesus is describing the feedback loop of faith. He believes in us, we believe in him, and this cycle perpetuates in every aspect of our lives. It helps us to believe in ourselves and in others. When I believe in myself, I have more capacity to see the potential in others, and the cycle begins again.
The Unbound community is full of these feedback loops. My sponsored friend writes me a letter and it compels me to write her back. An Unbound mother invests her family’s sponsorship funds to create a greater return. An Unbound family that finds success inspires another family in similar circumstances to follow their own path.
These are the cycles of inspiration, the feedback loops of potential. As we look for the autumn leaves soon to change, may we also look for the potential in ourselves and others to input more positive change into the world.
God of all seasons, thank you for remaining in us and believing in us. Help us and our sponsored friends to see potential everywhere we look and bear fruit to better your world. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.