Thursday, 13 December 2018
AFTER such a long, dry summer, my wife and I were quite amazed that our big, old apple tree managed to produce such an enormous crop of fruit: so much that we were running out of ideas for what to do with it.
Better still, for me at least, was a good basketful of cox’s orange pippins from our little tree. But they were a bit of a mixed bunch and not all were fit for ready consumption.
As I looked at them, I found four sorts. I also found my Harvest sermon:
If apples were souls, how well would they be?
The first kind of apple looked fine from one side — gold and red, with a hint of green — but when I turned it around, I saw a small, black, tell-tale hole: something was eating its way into it.
I’m sure you know the saying “What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?” Finding half a worm.
Well, sometimes our soul is mostly fine but something is eating away at it: something that most people wouldn’t see. If we catch it early, we can cut it out, before it makes its way into the core, otherwise someone will be in for a nasty surprise if they discover what is going on inside.
The second kind of apple reminded me that, sometimes, we get bumped and bruised — or something may even break through the skin. Our souls can be consumed by hurt or pain, resentment or grief, affecting more and more of us, like the apples I left on the tree.
A few of the apples were small and pale: they hadn’t had enough of the endless, glorious sunshine we had this year. Their potential is largely wasted and they haven’t been able to grow; they may even be bitter or hardened on the inside.
The healthiest apples were colourful and round: russet, where they’ve rubbed in the wind; or maybe shaped by the press of the crowd. These are the ones that are ready to share, like those souls we know, whose beauty lies in the lives they’ve lived: a little bit wrinkled and worn.
The Gospel message in all of this is that, unlike apples, our souls can be healed and restored.
Time and again, Jesus came across people whose lives were blighted by evil ways eating into them, sickness and sadness consuming them and fear and worry holding back their joy.
Time and again, he forgave their sins, healed their wounds and shared his faith and hope and fellowship with them, in the company of friends.
If apples were souls, they would show us a range of colours and conditions in their words and their deeds and their ways.
If your soul were an apple, which one would it resemble and which would you wish it to be?
God’s blessing and healing and peace be with you.
26 November 2018
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