Tag Archives: fruit

Full Circle

The Empyrean (highest heaven), from the illustrations to The Divine Comedy by Gustave Doré

What do you imagine heaven to be like?  What do you imagine Paradise to be?  The place where heaven is, where God lives?  Over the past couple of weeks we’ve explored the River of Life and God’s comfort and restoration.

The vision concludes:

Epilogue: invitation and warning

12 ‘Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 

16 ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’

17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

So not only does the fruit grow on the tree – but we can eat of the fruit.

This is Genesis coming full circle.  The Bible ends where it began:

The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave life—the other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong. (Genesis 2:9)

The eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge took us away from God and the tree of life.  Now Paradise is restored.  The tree of life is still there – and we are invited, nay entitled, to enjoy.  We can come and drink of the water of life.

God is home – and we can join him, in all he ever intended life to be.

What a hope.  What a future.  What a reality of life lived forever in God’s presence.

Thank you Lord
for the promise,
the promise to eat from the Tree of Life.

May I take,
and fill
and know
your presence,
your life,
your hope.

Come Lord,
soon,
I pray

Bearing Fruit?

In our garden, we have a miniature pear tree.  It has been there now for four years, and has never yet produced any blossom, never mind any fruit.  I wonder how long I have to give it, how long it gets to take up space without giving anything back, or earning its keep.

At the moment it looks very bedraggled on a cold, wet winters day, but I live in hope.  Maybe this year…

2013-02-25 09.30.34

Luke 13:1-9

Turn Back to God

13 About this same time Jesus was told that Pilate had given orders for some people from Galilee to be killed while they were offering sacrifices. Jesus replied:

Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them? Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also be killed. What about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also die.

A Story about a Fig Tree

Jesus then told them this story:

A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. One day he went out to pick some figs, but he didn’t find any. So he said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs on this tree, and I haven’t found any yet. Chop it down! Why should it take up space?”

The gardener answered, “Master, leave it for another year. I’ll dig around it and put some manure on it to make it grow. Maybe it will have figs on it next year. If it doesn’t, you can have it cut down.”

Jesus has come to implore the people to turn back to God.  Not because if they don’t God will be angry, but because he knows that God’s ways are the very best ways for people to live – the way to get the best, all that was intended, out of life.

As an aside, he gives us a pointer about suffering:

You know that tower that fell over, and killed eighteen people?  They were no worse than anyone else.  They didn’t die because they were worse sinners than everyone else.

Then Jesus tells them a story.

How annoyed would you be if your fig tree/pear tree/raspberry canes or any other produce were not bearing fruit – and had consistently failed to bear fruit for a number of years?  You would lose patience and uproot it, make room for something that was going to fruit.

Yet the gardener begs for another year, another opportunity to come good.

Jesus is well aware of when things have gone wrong, when expected fruit has not appeared.

He sees that in our lives too.  When we have not done what we could or should, when we have not reached the expected standard, when our lives are not bearing fruit.

There may be those who want to stop us, who want to cut us short.  BUT, God says there is another chance, another opportunity.

Yes, there will come a time when enough is enough, but for now, God says no.  Let’s give them every opportunity, every help, let’s see what happens.  There is more time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad God gives me another chance.  That he doesn’t want to cut me down now with the results I have, but gives me further opportunity to get it right – with his help.

So if you are feeling it’s all gone wrong, you’re not doing what you should, or you’re not worthy of your place in God’s orchard – God says let’s give it another go.  I’m here to help you, to nourish you, I’m not going to cut you down or throw you out.

Thank God for that.

Thank you Lord

for second, third, fourth and more chances.

Thank you that you do not want us cut down

and thrown away,

but want us to succeed.

Thank you that we are not left alone to do that,

but you seek to nourish us

and help us grow.

Lord,

I long to produce fruit for you,

help me

I pray

Fruit of The Vine

We once had a clematis die mysteriously.  Slowly from the top the flowers died and the leaves turned brown.  It turned out on closer inspection that “someone” had sliced the stalk at ground level whilst enthusiastically mowing the lawn.  The clematis could not survive as it had been severed from its source of water and nutrients.

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

A branch cannot survive, never mind bear fruit, if it is not longer attached, part of the whole of the plant.

Jesus uses this analogy for his people.  He is the vine, the strong main support, the conduit of all the branches need to survive and thrive.  To not remain in him, is to no longer be a part of him and his life.

So how do we remain in God?

We need to spend time with him, listen to him, reflect, let it soak in…

Jesus is the vine, are we fruit on his branches?

You Lord

are my sustenance,

my provider,

the one who feeds and nourishes me.

May I remain attached to you,

drawing from you,

maintaining my connection –

that I may continue to grow in you

and produce your fruit