Day 38 - Pauses for Lent - Prune


 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”  John 15:1-3

Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his message…his every word.

Martha, her sister, was busy doing things that she believed needed to be done.

Two sisters, both of whom loved Jesus. So which sister did what was best and needed? Jesus told Martha that her sister had chosen what was better and it would not be taken from her.

It may seem like a stretch, but within the story of this encounter between Jesus and the two sisters, we witness pruning and abiding.

The Abiding: Mary’s time with Jesus, listening and learning from her Rabboni would not be taken from her. We might lose a home, a job, a loved one or even our health, but time with Jesus, abiding in him, cannot and will not be taken from us. There is fruit from a branch that abides in Christ Jesus and that fruit will reflect the True Vine.

The Pruning: Martha was busy, even anxious about all the serving to be done. She might have been overwhelmed by it all. Martha in all her tasks sees her sister as not being helpful to her. She even asks Jesus if he cares that she alone is serving. Jesus calls her name twice, Martha Martha…and gently begins to prune all those wild vines that she is caught up in. “Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things” (I can almost hear the snip-snip of the Pruner’s tool)…Jesus continues, “but few are needed, indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  All the other stuff, the worry, the being upset, the many things are all pruned away. It might have been painful for Martha at that moment. After all, she had thought she was the one doing what was needed and best.
Fruit bearing requires pruning. Sometimes pruning stings and is painful; sometimes it’s just a pinch to remove a leaf that blocks the light from a branch and sometimes it is being called twice by your name so you can learn from the One who loves you so much.  

How thankful I am to be lovingly pruned by The Vine Dresser, for often I am like Martha getting caught up in many things and forgetting the one thing needed. Lord keep me at your feet, abiding always in The True Vine. Thank you for true fruit from the Holy Spirit’s flow that is reflective of only you!

*Reflect on Mary’s position as a pupil and Martha’s position of attempting to instruct Jesus. Pray for God’s pruning when you jump from the position of Mary to the position of Martha.
Cristen Barnard, Senatobia District Lay Leader, provided both today’s reflections and the original artwork shared here.

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