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Letter from the Interim Moderator – Ian Connell

John 15:1-8. Jesus is talking about how He is the vine and we are the branches.

He produces the fruit and we bear it. Without Him, we cannot produce any fruit of our own

So, we see from this passage that Jesus Christ is the vine and that we are the branches. The branch separated from the vine obviously withers away because it dries up.

God is the gardener that does the planting, pruning and whatever else is related to us bearing fruit. If we bear fruit He prunes us so that we may bear even more fruit. To prune means to cut off a piece, to bring in shape.

I am the ‘reluctant’ gardener, as the only thing I know how to do is to cut the grass. I am very fortunate to be married to someone who loves gardening. She has planted all kinds of bushes and shrubs to create an all year-round display of colour. I do as I am told to dig here and plant there, what is a weed and what is a new shoot. Pruning is an essential part of my gardening skills that I have performed over the years, under close supervision and instruction. When and where you prune correctly, to encourage healthy growth and flowering, as well as good looks.

In a sermon, I heard the preacher described prune and purge are exactly or nearly the same as the other. Prune is used with plants and trees and purge is used of people, but the effect is the same… to give more fruitful growth. When God prunes us it’s because He wants us to produce more spiritual fruitful growth.

For God to prune Christians this simply refer to God shaping our lives in general to help us towards spiritual growth. We must purge ourselves of all such anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from our lips and turn to love of our neighbours.

We have the choice to continue in our old ways our allow God to prune or habits and thoughts and through this we will grow stronger and bear more fruit for the Kingdom. So let Jesus into our lives and allow God to continue purging our sins.

Ian Connell

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