This plant is a Calathea - my wife was given it as a present a couple of years ago and it lived happily for a couple of years or so on the mantelpiece. Over time its leaves lost their shine, went a bit wrinkly and brown and eventually shrivelled up. It wasn’t in the right place or getting the right things and as a result, it had pretty much died. As a last ditch effort, I cut all the leaves off and sat it on the kitchen windowsill and have since made a more concerted effort to give it what it needs - a bit of care and attention. Eventually, after a couple of months of just looking like an empty pot of soil and just as my wife was saying we should give up and throw it away, I noticed a tiny tip of a shoot poking up through the soil - not there the day before. Now it has one leaf, a new shiny leaf.
God is in the business of new starts, new growth and new leaves. When all looks wasted away, dead and good for throwing away, God still sees the potential he has put there. There is always hope. In our own lives God provides us with the things we need to grow and flourish. Our God-given potential may be in full bloom or still locked away in the darkness of the soil yet to emerge. It may be growing but too slowly to know what it’s going to turn into. Or it may just be the tiniest glimmer of a green shoot amongst many shrivelled leaves - but it’s there. And God can grow it if we let him.
And we can be part of this process too. Hope Nottingham is a place full of potential. Much of it hiding under the fallen leaves or unwatered soil of people's complicated lives, past disappointments or feelings of helplessness. But we can be part of God’s plan to grow something new in people’s lives, to provide the nourishment , light and warmth that is needed for people to flourish. It just needs love, time, patience and a belief that there is always hope.