April 28, 2024: Broken and Wounded

male bird in the tree

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Broken and Wounded

In John 15, Jesus offers this comprehensive depiction of life through the Vine and the Branches parable. Jesus teaches that our lives, bodies, and beings are the branches connected to him as the Vine. He describes our Father as the Gardener pruning and guiding.

When life experiences cause a relationship, a job, or a project to end, it is like a severed branch. Only the Lord knew that it would not bear healthy fruit. He knew it was for our best that we cut our losses. When life experiences cause us to become uncomfortable, we may experience pruning, a step back to gain perspective, redirect our efforts, and move in a new direction that restores joy and happiness.

As I reflect on the words of Jesus, I study the trees—their different forms, the multiple appendages, the shapes of the leaves—and recognize myself in the branches, some strong and reaching for the heavens, some small and feebly searching for the light, and the colorful fruit that adorns each. I recognize Jesus in the body, solid and sturdy, flexible and swaying with the rhythm of the wind. Our Father is all around us, the sun above, the earth below, the air between. And I am humbled by my existence among such greatness.

And I contemplate the seasons. When we have grown to our full potential, some branches broken through the season storms, some severed and lying on the earth, some bearing the most vibrant array of golds and warmth, shining toward the heavens. One by one, we experience this beautiful falling away, returning to our Giver of life, our Sustenance, our Grounding, where we restfully reflect and renew, so that we may draw on his nourishment, grace, and living water once more. A welcomed rest and reset, a reminder of our connection to our Life-Giving Resource, and a humbled noticing of the mystery of our God. Amen.

Jodi Heim, pastor, Berea Moravian Church, St. Charles, Minnesota
and Our Savior’s Moravian Church, Altura, Minnesota