As many of you perhaps know, there is a pretty magnificent Meyer Lemon tree growing behind my office at the church. It really outdid itself this season, and has been delighting children and grown-ups alike with its prolific showing. (Particularly the grown-ups, in their iced tea.)
I came back to the office one day after a long hiatus working from home and found that the tree had been more than marginally pruned. Stunningly pruned. Large gaping holes now allowed sunlight to pass where dense leaves had previously sheltered the branches below.
Not being an arborist, myself, and generally having the blackest of black thumbs, I trust that someone wiser than me knew what they were doing when they cut back large portions of this fruit-bearing plant. I trust that while, to me, it had appeared healthy and vital, this trimming was necessary for its future thriving and fruitfulness in this place.
Jesus tells us that we, too, need pruning from time to time, if we are to continue to thrive and grow as disciples—as branches of the One Vine. We may feel or appear to be doing just fine, bringing delight and serving our purpose as we are. But, the wisdom of God sees the fruit we might bear if we would allow ourselves to let go and be changed by the masterful and experienced hands of our Creator.
I believe that we are in a resurrection season, not only as individuals but as a congregation, too. And, as we look ahead to new and renewed opportunities to be and serve in ministry together, I pray we might welcome opportunities for God to shape us, as we root into God’s love, and seek to bear fruits of the kingdom in this community.