Saturday, March 2, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 63:1-8, Isaiah 5:1-7, and Luke 6:43-45
Both of our readings talk about fruit. Jesus told us that a good tree doesn’t give bad fruit. A bad tree doesn’t give good fruit. You can know a tree by its fruit.
You can know a disciple by his or her fruit.
It’s not an invitation to judge, but a call to self-inspection. What kind of fruit do you give?
Jesus also pointed out (John 15) that sometimes a grape vine needs to be pruned. Certainly tomato plants do, or else they don’t give good fruit. The gardener has to remove the branches that aren’t bearing so that the plant’s energy and resources can be poured into the branches that are fruitful.
We sometimes have to prune off things that aren’t fruitful so that we can focus our time and energy on the things that are. That works for individuals as well as churches. Sometimes we have church programs that aren’t really fruitful, but that give us the warm fuzzy feelings of happy memories. That’s not a terribly good reason to keep a program around. Memories we’ll always have, but energy and resources are limited. Sometimes Jesus wants us to prune back a bit so that we can focus on what he really wants us to do.
The same works in our own lives. We get awfully attached to things that aren’t helpful anymore (if they ever were). Sometimes we have to prune back so that we can focus on what Jesus really wants us to do.
Do you give good fruit, or bad fruit? Do you have branches that aren’t fruitful? Ask God to help you give good fruit. Ask him to help you release the things that distract you from following him. Write your own prayer.