I never liked the task of pruning. Even removing the suckers from tomato plants seemed too destructive and painful (for me as well as the plant!) People told me it was important for the plant that I remove the suckers – and even branches from growing trees. I thought it was just to make everything look neat and even beautiful. It was my least favorite task in outdoor work until I read an article that told me “the sucker should be removed to prevent it from sucking away the plant’s energy.” (http://www.maximumyield.com) (That sounds a little like what should be done for small children with a big bag full of Halloween candy.)
Jesus liked to use examples from nature to talk about spiritual growth and this morning it was about the necessity of pruning. With himself as the vine and God as the vine grower, he imaged the disciples (and us) as the branches in need of pruning in order to bear more fruit. It’s helpful to hold that image when I recognize or am told that I’m straying off my path. It’s sometimes very difficult to look into the mirror of truth about ourselves, but as I grow, allowing the pruning gets easier as I come to see the freedom in new growth.
It’s almost time to tidy up the plants outside. While I’m at that task, I will check on what needs to be clipped from the inside too. Won’t you join me?