Sharon and I have gone apple picking in our favorite orchard a couple of time lately. It has been such fun. The weather has been good and the apples have been right where they are easy to pick. Life is good.
Friday as I was picking the apples I sensed the pull of the Spirit of God. I was just reaching for the next apple on a North Spy tree, my favorite apple...and I sensed the call of the Spirit to think and pray for a bit about fruit. All at once the impression came to me that I would like to be just like this apple tree.
What kind of fruit? Fruit like others coming to know the life changing and life rearranging presence of the Holy One alive and active in their hearts...even when they are picking apples on a sunny day. Fruit like love in the middle of change, hope in the dark of the night, the calm assurance that prayer changes things beginning with me...
As I was thinking and praying, the call of the hunt for more apples and watching the antics of little ones wander and wonder in the orchard moved me past the moment. I moved on with a prayer to the Spirit of the Living God in my heart to be burdened for fruit.
Then I came upon this excuse for a tree...what a picture. Not a leaf or a apple on the whole sorry plant.
These trees form a counter point to each other... opposite ends of the fruit producing spectrum. What are the causes? That brought this tree to death? Was it weather, wind, a hard winter? Bad soil? Who knows it is beyond me. The impression that I left with was simple: don't be that tree.
In the middle of the everyday, Those tress continue to stay in my mind and heart. Jesus said, "By their fruits you shall know them..."
The nudge of the Spirit is always in the same direction: toward hope, toward grace, toward nurturing the possibility of growth and renewal. The amazing thing about grace is that as I am open to the call of the Spirit of God fruit can grow...even in places and on trees that appear as if that is impossible. Grace exceeds the need when I am willing to listen.
So what do I take away from my apples adventures of 2012?
God is speaking so much more that I am aware of. Simple things are powerful like apples and a sunny day on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Champlain. I can find myself sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to the call of the Spirit of God in the middle of harvest time.