The Season for Pruning

By JMathis

John 15:2. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

image Howard Moss, past poetry editor for the New Yorker (until his death in 1987), penned a moving poem about a tree undergoing the painful, disquieting process of pruning. The poem also calls to mind the beauty that follows, as described in John 15:2.

While the pruning of last year may have been painful for you, know that The Creator is lovingly tending your branches, so that more room can be made for the fruitful abundance that awaits you this year.

It is in this pruning that our purpose is refined. Allow for God to strip away the unnecessary, so that you bear so much fruit, you are left with no choice but to share this bounty with your family, friends and community.

The Pruned Tree

As a torn paper might seal up its side,
Or a streak of water stitch itself to silk
And disappear, my wound has been my healing,
And I am made more beautiful by losses.
See the flat water in the distance nodding
Approval, the light that fell in love with statues,
Seeing me alive, turns its motion toward me.
Shorn, I rejoice in what was taken from me.
What can the moonlight do with my new shape
But trace and retrace its miracle of order?
I stand, waiting for the strange reaction
Of insects who knew me in my larger self,
Unkempt, in a naturalness I did not love.
Even the dog’s voice rings with a new echo,
And all the little leaves I shed are singing,
Singing to the moon of shapely newness.
Somewhere what I lost I hope is springing
To life again. The roofs, astonished by me,
Are taking new bearings in the night, the owl
Is crying for a further wisdom, the lilac
Putting forth its strongest scent to find me.
Butterflies, like sails in grooves, are winging
out of the water to wash me, wash me.
Now, I am stirring like a seed in China.

–Howard Moss

2 thoughts on “The Season for Pruning

  1. sablek

    Pruning . . . this week my car was robbed and a tremendous amount of valuable items and information was stolen. I have lost so much from this incident that I have been shaky and sad the last few days. I have been praying that this person’s heart would be convicted so strongly that the items would be returned and that this person would have an opportunity to know God. I have been pruned, and like the tree, have the expectation that something good will come out of this.


  2. jmathis

    We’re continuing to pray with you. You are an inspiration, and we believe in prayer and agreement with you that beauty will indeed come from these ashes. Lord, thank you for perfect SHALOM over this situation–nothing missing, nothing broken; perfect wholeness in Jesus’ Name, and peace that surpasses all understanding for our precious friend and her family.


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