I went for a walk with my family the other day and we came across this tree, which made Nick immediately laugh. Coming from a family of citrus farmers, he pointed out the ridiculousness of pruning a tangerine tree to have a tall, branchless trunk with all of the fruit unreachably high, rotting away. What a tragedy to take this plant whose purpose is to provide sustenance and prune it in such a way that it is impossible for it to fulfill that purpose.
I have been thinking about how God is creating around us all of the time and is calling us to participate in that creation. That is our purpose, to be God's instruments. But creativity is hard. When we create, we don’t know what is going to happen next. We wonder what we are meant to become. When we create, we risk failure. In fact, we fail most of the time.
Participating in creation involves accepting the mysteries of God and how God is working in our world. It also means accepting that most of the time we are going to mess things up because we humans are imperfect.
It’s much easier to listen to the lies: that we will never be enough or that we don’t need to listen to God because we can do it all on our own. But when we choose to participate, when we choose the harder path, we are living the way we are meant to be. We are shaped into the form that aligns to our purpose.
In my own life, I have always struggled with social interaction. Words don’t flow out naturally and I always feel like I say the wrong thing or don’t say enough of the right things. For a long time, I just avoided people because it was much easier to listen to the lies and not try. But God is calling us to participate in life. Choosing not to participate is like cutting off all the wrong branches. All of our God-given fruit becomes inaccessible. Living like that is insulting to God.
I know that participating in Christian community is bringing me into God’s presence. I don’t know exactly where this is going or what is going to happen next. I worry about failing a lot (and I often do), but I know that at least I’m trying to follow God’s voice.
Unfortunately, we can’t really rescue this tangerine tree to align it to what it was meant to do. We can’t unprune it. But thank God that our actions day-to-day, moment-to-moment are not branches, fixed and rigid, but instead can be moved and molded. Thank God that in our own lives, we can choose to listen to God’s call for us to participate in creating life and love in our world; that we might be able to share the fruit that comes from God. No matter where we are, we can choose to take our next step with Jesus on the Way.
by Dianne Garcia, Pastor of Family
Where do you feel you are being asked to create new life from what you have been given?
What is preventing you from participating in the creation of new life?
How can you choose to hear God's voice to fulfill your purpose as God's instrument?