So a couple of weeks ago Winthrop Wesley journeyed to New York City for four days.
A week or so before that I had purchased some new strawberry plants…
When we went to NYC, I left the plants in the very (or so I thought) capable hands of my friend, Austin. When I returned the plants had been burnt to a crispy brown… I mean like crunchy leaves in the fall crispy. She was sure there was no way they were making a come back, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let these plants die on my watch. So I over watered them for the past two weeks, and then suddenly I started to see resilience. You see though these plants had crispy fritters for leaves, the stems were still green. A glimmer of hope! Then I started to see new growth coming from the soil, and today I saw some new strawberries starting to form. HOLLER!!!
Today I was pruning off some the dead stuff, and I was thinking about how this is kind of like our lives. Sometimes we have to prune off the dead stuff. The stuff that can be strangling us or keeping us from sprouting new fruit. There are habits, people, stubbornness (guilty as charged), and things of the sort that infiltrate our lives and start turning the edges brown. They start to kill off the healthy fruit bearing parts. Unlike my strawberry plants that tried to perish rather quickly, this typically happens over time. It creeps in on you until one day you realize that you have some dead leaves and might need to start doing some pruning. Only after a good pruning can regrowth start.
This of course makes me think of all of the Palm Sunday services I went to today. I know what you’re thinking, what do you mean all? I attended 3 services today because I had to talk to some congregations, but that’s neither here nor there. There was a lot of talk about making amends before Easter Sunday. About getting our hearts in the right place before the celebration. I mean that’s what Lent is all about right? It’s about intentionally drawing nearer to God during these 40 (46 to be exact, but Sundays don’t count) days to prepare for Easter. I would say that that is the biggest part of our Lenten observance. Traditionally, as I understand, people withhold things from themselves for these 40 days. They prune those things away. Why? Well because to draw closer to God we have to leave something behind. That something can be very abstract sounding like time. You leave a little bit of time you would spend on the computer behind for time to spend reading your bible. It can also be something very tangible like drinking, smoking, sassing your mom. I am sure there is a better, and more churchy, explanation for why we give stuff up at Lent, but for me this works.
So I hope that you have found some pruning to do in your life during Lent, and some how drawn closer to God. If you didn’t give anything up, that’s great too. I am going to intentionally look inward during this week to see what brown edges need to be pruned from my life. Where could your life use some pruning?