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Master Gardener

I am the Vine, you are the branches, John 15:5, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

I have a black thumb. For any plant to stay alive on my watch, it has to be by the kitchen sink or outside and hardy enough to live on its own. So far, my survival record for plants by the sink is 0, but my "outside or die" plants have bumped up to 4. I don't do a thing to them. In fact, I was surprised to see three of them last spring. I honestly thought I had killed them all a couple years before.

Fortunately for my plants, they found soil and water that was perfectly suited to their needs. It was wasn't too cold, it wasn't too hot, and somehow they got just enough rain at just the right time. This is my kind of gardening - the kind where God's in charge, not me.

On this fifth Sunday of Easter, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. And He even tells us what kind of gardener God is.

"He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." (John 15:2)

Now, you already know what kind of gardener I am, so I'm just going to assume that this pruning thing is actually necessary on some vines in order to produce fruit. What I do know is that when God prunes us, it can be a little painful sometimes. It can be surprising and even a little disheartening. It can be hard to change habits, give things up that are getting in the way, and step into spaces big enough for us to grow.

Some of these things aren't even bad or sinful things, right? I have a friend who was doing wonderful work, and suddenly nothing was going right. Looking back, we can see that it was time for her to move in a different direction, and she would never have done so if everything kept on as it was. Why change something good? Well, this time it was so she could do something great.

I know my weakness in gardening, so I can easily give thanks for the plants that grow. I think it's harder to do in our lives. We think we can manage them; we think we have the skills and expertise. Sometimes, it takes being stuck for us to see who should be in charge of our growth. When we do, it's easier to be thankful for the pruning and we can watch for the fruit that will come from it.

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