Pruning. I found it a complete mystery when I was younger. Why was my Mom cutting off parts of a plant? Perfectly good parts, or at least so they seemed to me, at that? It wasn’t until I understood pruning as actually good for both plant and gardener that it began to come together. People who really care about plants, prune their plants. People who are indifferent to plants don’t.
It is impossible to not notice the metaphor of “the vine” in Scripture. It shows up in lots of places. One of the best known is our Gospel text for this fifth Sunday of Easter, John 15. It is here that we read Jesus saying “I am the vine” and we are branches and all that goes along with that. We talk about this quite a lot this Sunday with an added bit that I hadn’t really considered before. The image of “vine” isn’t just a New Testament image but is also in the Old Testament, but in the Old Testament it is most often an image of Israel, the nation. I hadn’t considered the corporate nature of the vine before and it helped me understand the image a bit better. The vine keeper, the gardener isn’t only interested in individual people but in communities. This explains some of the things churches go through, I use the example of a fire the church I grew up in suffered. It hadn’t occurred to me that churches, small groups, denominations, Christendom, might need pruning now and then.
If this is something you have always known and considered that’s excellent! But if it is as new to you as it was to me, I think you will find some profitable opportunities to think about it.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments, or on Facebook or directly in some other way.