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Message from Pastor Tim
50 YEARS OF BEARING MUCH FRUIT
I love the image of Jesus being the vine and his disciples the branches. It's found in John ch.15.
On the farm I grew up on, grapevines provided a lot of shade at the back of our house, and also much fruit. And I have lived close to a lot of vineyards and wineries in a number of places in Australia and New Zealand. It's wonderful to seethe fresh green shoots, and the miniscule berries forming that will become plump grapes, though sometimes on the farm the birds came and ate a lot of the grapes before they were even properly ripe. My mother made a wonderful grape pudding from one variety of grape. And every year in the winter I remember my father pruning the vines. That helped the next year's grape harvest considerably.
Jesus speaks about the goal of the branches, the disciples, bearing much fruit. He was talking about the fruit of sacrificial love being lived out in Christian community and beyond it. I give thanks to God that Ascension has been a fruitful church these past 50 years here on Morse Road. I have been hearing stories about that fruit, as well as experiencing it myself. I am very moved when I think of all the love and care I received when my mother died last year.
We have much fruit to celebrate on Sunday June24th, and all through this anniversary year. John 15also mentions pruning. That's pruning of individual branches.We could say we have all experienced that personally. And we also experience pruning as a community. (The vine and branches imagery is very communal. You hardly know where one branch ends and the next begins.) Ascension has also had pruning in its 50 years on Morse Rd,from various challenges, struggles, suffering. I think this pruning at least some of the time has helped us to be more fruitful. The North land area has certainly changed a lot through these years. I know that Jesus is looking for us to be fruitful into the future. Remember that he is the vine. He was crucified, and is risen, and through the Holy Spirit Jesus provides the vision and resources forbearing fruit. With Holy Communion he is both the host, and the gift in the meal, through the bread,and the fruit of the vine. He recharges us through the meal. He has given us the wonderful gift of fellow branches, of each other. My prayer is that will grow in fruitfulness, in sacrificial love and care. And I'm empowered to know that Jesus is both our present and our future. Cheers for the next 50 years. In Jesus' love.--Pastor Tim.