17 | conditions #Lent2022

The gardener answered, “Leave it alone, sir, for one more year, until I dig around it and manure it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” (Luke 13:8-9)

I’ve lost count of how many fruit trees we have all up, but it is more than 60. Most of them are more than ten years old now, mature, established and annually bearing fruit. A few slower growing varieties, especially nut trees, are still taking their time.

Today I’m about to go and net the apples in the orchard as they are beginning to swell and ripen, and the yellow tailed black cockatoos are circling! There is a lot of fruit on them this summer, but with the drier season is looks mostly on the smaller side. The citrus on the other hand has loved the dry, with the lemons especially happy … anyone want lemons?

Fruit is a product of its conditions, directly related to the soil, moisture, and temperature. The role of the gardener is critical too; however, without these other factors working, there’s nothing to eat. Similarly, you can’t wish to be more loving … you can try, but ultimately how loving you are or how peaceful we are is a by-product of what we ‘rooted’ ourselves in; what we’ve chosen to give ourselves to; what we’ve chosen to be shaped by. This is why the analogy of the ‘fruit of the spirit’ is so powerful.

For me this has been constant wrestle, as over the years I’ve wanted more and more to demonstrate these ‘fruits’ but have struggled to allow myself to be shaped to the ‘core’ by God’s love. If I look back, ultimately my experience has been seasonal, like the fruit trees themselves. Times of growth and new life have been mixed with seasons of winter and pruning. The invitation however to keep putting down deeper roots and asking God to transform me has been that constant ‘still, small voice’ and this is my ongoing prayer. Ω

Reflect: Imagine yourself as a fruit tree. What has ‘pruned’ you? What feeds the soil around you? Where do you see fresh healthy growth in your life now?

What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent. This year’s theme is Fruit of the Spirit. Why? Read this. #Lent2022. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent © Sanctuary, 2022.

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