Preparing for Worship – Jeff Hampton, Wilshire member.
It’s hard to believe it’s May already. Winter seemed longer than usual, what with the pandemic and that crazy freeze in late February that seemed to leave all of nature in shock. Even now, we’re waiting and watching as trees and shrubs find their way back to what looks like life.
The biggest victim of the freeze at our house is the fig tree in our back yard. It was a trimming from a fig tree at LeAnn’s previous house, and that one was a trimming from an old family friend’s house. We planted it in our yard nine years ago when we moved in, and we’ve watched with anticipation each year as it slowly has stretched skyward. By last summer it was eight feet tall and finally mature enough to produce a handful of figs. We just knew this would be the year when it would explode with fruit like its ancestors. But then came that brutal week in February. Today, the fig tree’s trunks and branches are brown and hard with death.
The good news is that all around the base there are fresh green shoots with leaves big enough to cover Adam and Eve. Yes, the fig tree is alive and is coming back, but we’ll have to wait for it to mature again. The hope is that years from now we’ll look out on a warm summer day and see it bearing fruit. And like the psalmist in our reading today, we will tell future generations about how it came to be delivered.
Meanwhile, the dead trunks and branches need to be cut away, not just to make room for new growth but to take away the memory of what had been. We can’t live in the past; we can only live for today and tomorrow.
As winter gives way to spring, and spring to summer — and as we come out of this time of isolation and waiting — consider what you need to do to make room for new growth. What needs to be pruned away and dragged to the fire? What do you need to do to bear fruit?
As we prepare for worship and as we break bread and pass the cup, remember who ultimately gives us life. Remember who gives us hope for a fruitful tomorrow. Remember who is the true vine from which all good things grow.