12 November 2017

My dear Friends,

About 3 years ago one of our members gave Keryn and I a small Lemon Tree that they had grown from a seedling.  We planted it with care, observing the advice that the givers had given us, and it grew wonderfully well.  In the first two years it must have tripled, if not quadrupled, in size.  But, last year we noticed that the leaves were being covered with some or other kind of sticky sap or disease.  Keryn spoke to a staff member at one of the local nurseries and he suggested an organic spray that would hopefully sort the problem out.  I sprayed the tree and at first it seemed like it was working.  When spring came around this year there were a number of new shoots, but I also noticed that the older leaves kept falling off the tree and soon the new shoots stopped growing.  I decided that the best option was to prune the tree right back.  It seemed drastic and almost cruel to cut off living branches of a tree that had taken 2 to 3 years to grow!  The result was that the tree was half the size and almost looked injured. 

But then, a number of new green shoots started growing from the scarred stem at great pace.  They have now, a few weeks later, grown to almost the same height as the original diseased branches, though they are still pretty flimsy.  My prayer and hope is that the new shoots will far out grow the old diseased branches and the result will be a healthy and flourishing Lemon Tree.

Nature is amazing this way.  What seemed to be the end of the tree has now turned into the beginning of something new.  New life springs from the wounds of the old and the fruit will be more plentiful after the pruning.  The analogy with our lives is obvious and it can sometimes be easy to be glib and say that suffering is the pruning and that the pain is worthwhile because the result will be a more fruitful life.  The problem is that suffering is sometimes a mystery.  Yes, suffering can work wonders and strengthen character and bring fruit in our lives, but it doesn’t always.  It can damage and break too.  It can cripple emotionally as well as physically.

Perhaps the key to the results of the pruning that we often experience through the trials and troubles of life is whether or not we, as branches, have been grafted into Jesus?  In John 15 Jesus speaks of himself as the vine and we the branches.  He insists that we will bear much good fruit if we remain in him.   Secure in him, the pruning is positive.  It still hurts, we still feel like screaming, but we know he is there with us and that he has gone through the same process himself. 

With my love, Chris

 

 
...We are called and strive to be a Christ centered family that is dynamic, diverse and devoted, serving the wider community, encouraging all people to discover and fulfill their potential in Jesus, living by faith, displaying love and offering hope, all by the grace of God. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
12 November 2017

My dear Friends,

About 3 years ago one of our members gave Keryn and I a small Lemon Tree that they had grown from a seedling.  We planted it with care, observing the advice that the givers had given us, and it grew wonderfully well.  In the first two years it must have tripled, if not quadrupled, in size.  But, last year we noticed that the leaves were being covered with some or other kind of sticky sap or disease.  Keryn spoke to a staff member at one of the local nurseries and he suggested an organic spray that would hopefully sort the problem out.  I sprayed the tree and at first it seemed like it was working.  When spring came around this year there were a number of new shoots, but I also noticed that the older leaves kept falling off the tree and soon the new shoots stopped growing.  I decided that the best option was to prune the tree right back.  It seemed drastic and almost cruel to cut off living branches of a tree that had taken 2 to 3 years to grow!  The result was that the tree was half the size and almost looked injured. 

But then, a number of new green shoots started growing from the scarred stem at great pace.  They have now, a few weeks later, grown to almost the same height as the original diseased branches, though they are still pretty flimsy.  My prayer and hope is that the new shoots will far out grow the old diseased branches and the result will be a healthy and flourishing Lemon Tree.

Nature is amazing this way.  What seemed to be the end of the tree has now turned into the beginning of something new.  New life springs from the wounds of the old and the fruit will be more plentiful after the pruning.  The analogy with our lives is obvious and it can sometimes be easy to be glib and say that suffering is the pruning and that the pain is worthwhile because the result will be a more fruitful life.  The problem is that suffering is sometimes a mystery.  Yes, suffering can work wonders and strengthen character and bring fruit in our lives, but it doesn’t always.  It can damage and break too.  It can cripple emotionally as well as physically.

Perhaps the key to the results of the pruning that we often experience through the trials and troubles of life is whether or not we, as branches, have been grafted into Jesus?  In John 15 Jesus speaks of himself as the vine and we the branches.  He insists that we will bear much good fruit if we remain in him.   Secure in him, the pruning is positive.  It still hurts, we still feel like screaming, but we know he is there with us and that he has gone through the same process himself. 

With my love, Chris

 

 
...We are called and strive to be a Christ centered family that is dynamic, diverse and devoted, serving the wider community, encouraging all people to discover and fulfill their potential in Jesus, living by faith, displaying love and offering hope, all by the grace of God.