Luke 6:43-45 MSG
“You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds."
Living in Florida brought with it a new learning curve. We learned all about roaches, worms, insects (both crawling and flying) and lizards (and geckos). I tended to jump mostly by the lizard and gecko variety, especially when one was jumping out of our mailbox or hiding under my keyboard. However, our son's more fearful encounters included what we tended to call oak worms (aka silkworms).
Oak worms liked the oak trees the best, particularly the ones with Spanish moss. In the spring, around February, they would migrate from tree to tree by falling from their descending silk onto people's shoulders. This caused great fear, as one would expect, in our son as a new Florida resident as well as many others. During this time of year, it wasn't uncommon for church attendees to pick the occasional worm off of one another's shoulders as it caught a ride across the lawn.
Our Scripture text for today reminds us that worms generally are not a sign of good health. In fact, typically wormy apples are not found on healthy trees. The reverse is also true. This example is a reminder that healthy living is epitomized by who a person is for who we are exudes through all of our pores and flows out in the choices we make.
Likewise, if we are not making life-giving decisions, then we are not speaking and living in a way that brings health and wholeness to others in our lives. When we bring hurt and brokenness with us into our relationships with others, we are filled with worms like those apples in that diseased orchard. However, when we make decisions to encourage right living and faithful decisions focused on God, then we are providing our tree with everything needed for protection to it bark, roots and pulp, promoting fruitful living.
In Scripture, when the gardner found disease on a tree or lack of fruit, they pruned that tree and fertilized it, to encourage new fruit. Lent in an excellent time to reflect upon the areas in our lives that need pruning and the areas that provide health and life-giving choices. May we be people who choose life and seek God's abundant blessings.
Prayer: Lord, help us choose life. Guide us as we seek to be healed and to be a people working to live into your Spirit and share your love and healing with others. May we promote health and wholeness for the people of God and for your world. Amen.
Rev. Laura C. Kelsey, Author
Rev. Kelsey is proud to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac, MI. Together with the faithful and loving worshipping community at FPC. she enjoys sharing God's Word with others, working to help folks experience God's love and discern their direction in life, and lovingly reach out to the greater Pontiac community.