Have you noticed trimming of the iconic tree at Hunt United Methodist Church? Sure enough! With work in progress, a work crew is diligently and carefully trimming branches today. Hired by our church trustees and coordinated by Bill Furbush, the crew is taking care of this tree and providing for many years of continued and healthy growth.
Churches can need healthy trimming too. I seem to recall several Scriptures that speak about the need:
JOHN 15: 1-5 offers this saying from Jesus, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches."
SO - what does tree trimming at Hunt United Methodist Church have to do with your life or mine? The necessary action to keep this living organism healthy, the tree, so also is needed in our spiritual lives. To remain centered in Christ and fruitful in ministry together, we need some careful and diligent care so that our lives can grow and multiply the faithfulness of God within us.
This Sunday August 20, we will be reading from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans. In chapter 11, Paul speaks about God's salvation plan for Jews and Gentiles alike. He proposes a process by which God will welcome God's people and offer opportunities for ALL people to be included in the salvation. As you read this text, you will hear words like "grafting" and "holy roots" and "branches" - tree language which represents a life language of God's faithfulness among all of God's people.
The point today my friends, we have an opportunity to recognize parts of our lives and parts of our ministry as a community of faith that need some Tender Loving Care. We need a trimming - because as the Scriptures teach us New Growth comes from God's work to make a way among us.
Caring for the faithful and welcoming the newcomer, that is what seems to be rising among us as an important work of ministry. And by the way, the special parking spaces under the tree are now much safer to use.
Along the Way
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend