About‎ > ‎Rector's Reflections‎ > ‎

Rector's Refection for October 26, 2012

posted Dec 22, 2012, 9:12 AM by Terry Brady   [ updated Dec 22, 2012, 9:12 AM by Parish Administrator ]

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. -- John 15.4


Last week I found myself longing for green space.....and apples.   I'm sure that my longing was kindled by the chill in the evening air and by memories of autumn days at my grandmother's house. The changing leaves, warm days, cool nights, and the sweet-tart, green apples from the four apple trees on my grandmother's homestead were all beacons of the seasonal shift and coming holidays.


I eventually talked my family into indulging my craving and we went trekking into the wilds of Maryland, in search of farm and field. We made our way to Rock Hill Orchards in Mount Airy and spent the afternoon picking apples and pumpkins and squash.


I was fascinated by the apple orchard. In its various sections, there were over ten different kinds of apple represented. The apple trees looked fairly similar, but the apples were different in color and shape and, as my family discovered later, texture and taste. Some apples kept better than others (Red Delicious among the best); some apples were better for baking than others; some made perfect "out of hand" snacking apples. Different fruit had different qualities.


As we explored the different areas of the orchard, I recalled that a lone apple tree cannot produce apples. An apple tree must be pollinated with pollen from another apple tree for its flowers to bear fruit. And in some cases, new and amazing apples have come from the creativity of the bees (e.g. the crossing of Jonathan apples with Golden Delicious apples to produce Jonagold apples).


Throughout the New Testament there are references to Jesus' followers bearing fruit: fruit that will last, fruit worthy of repentance, fruit for God. And while I am usually uncertain about whether my life has produced much spiritual fruit (which is why I have a contingency plan involving my ashes and a couple of fruit trees), I was grateful for the lessons of the apple tree.   The trees remind me that we don't have to bear the same fruit or be good at the same things. It is, in fact our differences, which enhance the flavor and texture of our community.


The apple trees also remind me that we produce fruit in due season. The older heirloom trees produced larger fruit longer than some of the younger trees, while the younger trees tended to produce fruit earlier in the season. This meant that there was fruit available over a longer span of time. Finally, the apple trees reminded me that we cannot bear fruit alone. We must be firmly rooted in our nutrient source (Christ) and we need one another (and a bit of the buzzing Spirit) for protection and pollination.


Evidence of our growth is the fruit we bear. It is my prayer that St. Margaret's will send people into the world who, having known the amazing spiritual fruit of this place, are eager and able to share it.

Kym +