God cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. God also trims every branch that produces fruit to prepare it to produce even more.
Dear members and friends of FLC,
It is usually around this time of year that one of my hanging baskets (of flowers) looks ready to be thrown out. Lack of rain, forgotten watering, and the rich summer sun and heat all contribute to the problem.
Earlier this week I looked at this plant pictured above and it was full of brown leaves, dried vines, and no flowers. So that morning I started to prune it, cut it back with scissors, fertilize it, and water it. Within the afternoon it had perked up and was even blooming in a few places where there had been nothing before! It still has a few brown leaves, but now new shoots are growing and blooming…a lovely miracle of new life.
August might be a good month for us to try our hand at pruning in our own lives. Is there something that you might give up that hasn’t been worth the effort? Is the well of your heart getting drier and drier? Have you taken time to be renewed by the outdoors or by friends or family? Are you ready for a break? Maybe its even time to say “no” to something which is no longer bringing God’s healing or life to you.
Last week I said “no” to going out alone to Matinicus Island, Maine and instead am spending the second half of my vacation week at Mercy Farm in Vermont. This is the home to Dexter and Bailey, the sheep, I have mentioned in my sermons. It is an organic farm and Christian retreat center run by three Sisters of Mercy: Sister Betty, Sister Mary, and Sister Holly. They have all been involved in education and social justice work throughout their lives. The meals are full of all the good fruit and vegetables that they grow in fabulous gardens on the property. And they are all good listeners! For more about Mercy Farm, click on this link: http://mercyecology.org/mercy-farm.html
The first part of the week I will spend with Tim and the boys, just doing normal things not revolving around a lot of driving! Walking the dog. Watching the Red Sox. Reading a few good books. Working in my gardens. Resting and relaxing. Living the last weeks before now 2, both of our boys, will be going to college. We are not quite empty nesters, but it’s getting closer!
So where might you need to say “no” in order to be refreshed and nourished again by the creative and renewing Spirit of God? What might need to be pruned, so that new life can grow again?
May the God who raises Jesus from the dead bring even small glimpses of resurrection to your weary spirit and to your deepest concerns. May the breath of fresh air of summer breezes, sun tan lotion, and outdoor cooking as well as the breath of the Spirit which offers bread and wine and community — remind you how nothing can separate you from the love of God. Be well!
Pastor Anne Roser,