“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.’”
From John 15:1-8 I imagine any of us who have yards and survived the crazy snowstorm in San Antonio can listen to these images from Jesus anew this year. Somehow my yard that looked like a barren wasteland, has emerged green with new life poking out at every turn. While a much more severe pruning than I would have hoped, it’s clear there is a deep longing of these living things to come back and strongly burst upon the scene for this Easter season. We are also in the process of emerging from our isolated spaces as more of us are vaccinated.
We are also looking for what has been pruned from our schedules and lives as a result of the past year. And the question that continues to arise for me is, "Where is the new growth happening?" It's a question of discernment and frankly, like many of the plants in my yard, it’s probably too soon to know the answers. But asking the question is important. It's important because I want to make sure learnings from the past year are not lost. There are things I will want to quickly resume because they have been deeply missed and are truly life giving. And there are things I need to wait on to see whether or not they are really needed.
I am not a gardener, but one thing I’ve learned from those who do garden, is that pruning almost always goes back further than I’d be inclined to take off as an amateur. True gardeners trust the resilience and strength of the roots to come back more fully than might be obvious. I suspect that may be true in our spiritual lives as well. Simplicity is important so we have the freedom to choose those things which really facilitate depth and connection. There is that old saying that, "The spiritual journey is an inch long and a mile deep. "What might you need to let lie fallow to see what growth God is calling forth in you and in your relationships? Again, I suspect it’s a bit too early to tell what needs pruning and what is already bearing fruit. I do think asking the question is important.