I do not call you servants any longer because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends. John 15:12-27 When I was in South Africa two years after it’s first all-race democratic election after decades of sanctioned racial oppression under the apartheid system, I learned that true reconciliation involves both sides giving something up. The apartheid minority had to give up its “blindness” and the oppressed majority had to give up its “sight” in order that they may begin to see one another and fashion a new common vision for its country. Christ gave up his life. As we live into the resurrection, how will we fashion a new vision for our own reconciliation with the Christ? What might we give up in order that others may be reconciled with Christ?
He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. John 15:1-11
In early May, apple trees are covered in apple blossoms. In order for the blossoms to become apples, they must be cross-pollinated.This means that the pollen must travel from one flower to another before fertilization can occur. Bees are responsible for this essential task. Pollen is made by the stamens of the blossom. When bees travel from blossom to blossom, they collect pollen and drop it from the stamens of one blossom onto the pistils of another blossom. The pollen travels from the sticky tips of the pistils—called the stigma—down a long tube called the “style,” and enters the ovary. It is at this point that fertilization occurs and ovules within the ovary become apple seeds. After the seeds develop, the petals from the blossoms fall off. Pruning is necessary for good health to prevent decay, to promote strength of its structure and stimulate it’s growth. As a perennial, apple trees bloom each spring and do not die in winter. The tree is always alive and active. With the living Christ as our true vine, the beauty of the blossom has its purpose, but it’s the fruit that continually feeds God’s people. By his pruning we know that we are loved.
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