Pruned & Fruitful
Last Monday I pruned out apple tree in the back yard. The high winds blew off the remaining leaves and it is now time to prune it way back for next season's crop. This is an apple tree that produces such sweet apples, Martha just cooks them as-is into a marvelous applesauce! But the act of pruning seems so brutal as I lop back supple, straight branches back to the gnarly older branches. But grow back they do!
But if you notice what is behind the apple tree, you will see a fully loaded navel orange tree. Its branches are now heavy with fruit, some bending down to the ground. Again, nothing is so fresh as an orange right off the tree.
What caught my eye this morning was the juxtaposition between pruned and fruitful; they are simultaneous and complimentary. In my former locations in the midwest, the strong seasonal changes meant that everything was pruned at the same time and all soils went fallow together. Not here! Here in a 12 month growing cycle, some trees are dropping leaves while other are leafing out. Some need pruning and others need harvesting.
That's the church! We don't all operate on the same calendar (as much as my liturgical clock would like us to do!). On any given Sunday, when the body gather, some have been pruned way back and look pretty barren and bleak, while others are bursting with fruit and colorful with flowers. That means hope!