12th MARCH

Catching a glimpse of self - bearing fruit

Luke 13: 1 - 9

“If it bears fruit next year, fine!  If not, then cut it down.”

I’m not a gardener, but I understand that for something to grow it is sometimes necessary to do a bit of cutting back to get rid of all that gets in the way of and inhibits growth.  The difficulty, of course, is knowing when to be ruthless in cutting back and knowing what should be cut back.  What Jesus is ultimately suggesting here is quite brutal because, it wasn’t just a tidying of the plant or even the pruning of it, it was a total and utter clear out if there was no sign of growth.

So much grows within us and around us to entangle us.  So much can happen in our lives to stunt our growth in faith with impedes the production of fruit.  Fruit is generally something nice:  attractive to look at and pleasing to the palate when we eat it. The fruit our lives produce are those words and actions, attributes and qualities that bring something positive into the lives of others and the life of the world.  It is the kind of experiences in life that bring light and life into the lives of others.

Paul in his letter to the Galatians at chapter 5 speaks about the kinds of fruits that are inspired through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Paul lists the gifts of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  If we want to produce these in our lives then there needs to be that pruning and, at times, digging out, what inhibits life in the Spirit.

Lent is a time to clear out all that harms our relationship with God and each other and to encourage instead those positive gifts that build up rather than tear down.  There is a place to give up chocolate and other delights, but this story goes much deeper and reaches to the very roots of who we are and what we need to let go of.  There are times when it means a total uproot and re-root as we plant ourselves firmly in the life of God and as we re-route to head of in a new direction.

  • What do you need to prune for your life and clear out for good?  What fruits are missing that the Spirit might bring to life in your life?

Lord, all too often we come to you carrying so much baggage,

lost in the midst of overgrown branches.

Unburden us and help us to clear out and let go that we might be set free to grow

and bear much fruit for the world to enjoy and be nurtured by

AMEN.