Prayer: (If you happen to know the camp song, "His Banner Over Me is Love," sing it today. If not, prayerfully think about being a fruitful branch growing from the vine of Christ. Keep rooted in God's love. Amen)
Reading: John 15: 1-8 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: So we all love to sing, "He is the vine and we are the branches. His banner over me is love.", making straight vine and absurdly shaped branches with our bodies and the song is fun! But, frankly I find the thought of God pruning branches, not to mention completely cutting them off, quite disturbing.
It's not only because every time my husband goes out to prune the apple tree, pear tree or raspberry canes, I wonder if we will ever see fruit again (We do see fruit because Andy knows what he is doing.). It is probably because, in a literal sense, completely cutting off branches not bearing fruit seems so drastic and final. Not to mention, pruning branches that do bear fruit in order to make them bear more fruit still seems painful. (You know I am talking about real people and aspects of life here, not just our semi-dwarf apple tree from which we are patiently awaiting a bumper crop or at least a pie's worth off apples.)
God knows what he is doing and I won't always understand. And while I may not understand cutting and pruning in the big picture, I know there are ways I could be made more fruitful with a bit of discernment and trimming. That is a start. Meanwhile, I will be patient about that apple pie. Fortunately, God is more patient than I am. --Ruth Gates, Camp Mount Luther Family Camper
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