This Sunday, our Future with Hope series takes us to the hard work of tending or nurturing the growth of plants. It’s not enough to throw some seeds in the soil and hope for the best. Gardeners must thin, weed and water, and aborists train, graft, and prune. In this Sunday’s gospel, found in John 15, Jesus uses the metaphor of himself as the vine, us as branches, and God as the vinegrower with pruning shears at the ready.
As I prepare for Sunday, I’m also attending the Global Leadership Summit at a satellite location with other members of the church. I’ve been struck by how each speaker, in their own way, has invited us to risk connection: to each other, to our neighbor, to our God, to the creative work of the Spirit. So too has each invited us to the hard work of pruning or letting go of these things that do not bring life, honor God, or steal joy, dignity, or humanity from another. To grow, in faith, in depth of compassion, in grace, takes work. And as far as I can tell, it’s work we’re never done doing.
It seems to me, that while there are deep divides in our nation and the world right now, there is also a desire to connect: to one another, to something meaningful, to the Holy (whatever name you may use), to something bigger that brings hope, joy, and peace. We have known conflict and division before. Cain and Abel ring any bells? Over and over again, we have found our way through it, with whole hearted courage, much floundering, and the ever-present grace and love of God. I continue to hold out hope, that we will embrace God’s vision of compassion for all, as we continue the hard and fruitful work of connecting to the love and work of Jesus and all of God’s children. Isn’t it worth the effort?
I’ll see you on Sunday,