Saturday, 6 May 2017

I am a Branch of the True Vine, John 15:5 by Susan L.

  We've had nothing but rain and more rain for days on end. There was a burst of sunny weather last weekend so I took advantage of it and spent some time in the garden. The shrubs and plants are starting to sprout new leaves so it's easy to see what winter killed off. With pruners in hand, I tackled the elderly lilac tree at the back. It always has a lot of dead branches each spring that need to come out. Too much dead wood creates a breeding ground for disease and parasites.
  One of the treasures in my back yard is a mature, ornamental crab apple tree that has a stunning explosion of deep fuchsia flowers each spring. The fruit is tiny, about the size of a pea, and a favorite feast of birds in the autumn. When I moved in, it had a split trunk. Half of the tree was an actual crab apple because the ornamental part is grafted onto a crab apple trunk. This is when they take young branches, cut them carefully, then insert the ends into a slit in the bark of the trunk stock. Apple trees are grown the same way and now there are trees providing five different types of apples!
  The unwanted trunk had grown unchecked until it was big enough to provide small, sour and wormy apples. Tired of cleaning up the mess, I had my son use a chain saw to cut the crab apple half down. It's taken a number of years but the ornamental part is slowly filling in the hole. If the unwanted growth had been nipped in the bud, the tree would have grown into a nice shape.
  Whenever the pruners come out, I always think of this particular scripture. I imagine the Lord tending the garden of my soul. It's fertile soil. Weeds sprout just as readily as the finest of blossoms. I imagine Him looking at what is going on now with an eye to my future as He decides what needs to go and what needs to be encouraged.
  I love the paradox in all of this: growth needs to be cut back to grow more and reach its full potential. In Christ, that potential is limitless.
  "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:1-2

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