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.
Pruning can be an enjoyable task in the garden, usually in the spring or autumn, as trees and shrubs need their annual prune after fruiting, or just a little tidy up, both straight forward jobs. Some plants actually need to be cut down to the root each year – buddleia or raspberries for example; it encourages new, vigorous growth and the following year they will produce lots of purple flowers for the bees and butterflies, or lovely juicy fruit to eat fresh or make jam, as appropriate.
But sometimes it is not such an enjoyable task if the plant has disease or has not been producing the fruit it should have. Bigger decisions have to be made and it is a much more complex job. Sometimes just one branch needs to be removed, or a few sections cut out, but sometimes it is much more serious and more has to be done, even cutting down to the root stock. For those plants which don’t appreciate such drastic action they have two chances, as my gardening neighbour says, recover and flourish or die.
Are we ready for God to take the secateurs to us, be that a gentle prune or a severe root job?
Father God, thank you that you are the vine-grower and lovingly tend your plants. Thank you that you know the best for me and know what needs to be pruned out of my life. Give me the grace to recognise your pruning and respond to it positively. Amen.