Read John 15: 1-17
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit….
– John 15: 1-2
When I was young, about the age of 10, I started taking accordion lessons. I continued with lessons until I graduated from high school. Being part of the accordion school offered me many opportunities. The school put on a yearly recital and we had an accordion orchestra which competed and performed throughout the east coast of the United States. We were invited to the July 4th celebration at the White House. (I did not attend, but that is another story.) I made lots of friends, traveled, and learned about the structure of organizations, how important dedication of so many people was necessary for the events to run smoothly, safely, be fun-filled, and successful. Truth of the matter is: I was never very good at playing the accordion.
While I gained many teachings and gifts from being part of the accordion school, I could not acquire the skill to read music fluently and get my hands to co-operate. As I think of the many teachers I had during those years, I am indebted to them for their patience, kindness and encouragement!! I spent endless hours trying to memorize the music. It was agonizing for me, my parents, and my teachers.
It was quite a storm we had this past week. As I drove through my neighborhood, I found many large tree limbs had been broken during the storm. It made me think of my accordion playing years. Was that a branch that should have been cut away since after three- five years, it was evident I was not good at playing? Or was it enough that I was part of a community that loved and supported me in spite of my limited musical ability?
So often, we go through living our life without really thinking consciously about why we are doing something or what we are giving and what we are receiving in our actions, or what we hope to obtain. Perhaps the scripture invites and instructs us to be conscious of our daily living. Don’t fill your calendar with appointment and dates just to fill the calendar, but to think about the activities and events we participate in and why.
As I think about my years in accordion school, I wonder if the adults in my life knew what other gifts I was receiving but never shared with me their thoughts. My aim was to be good at playing the accordion and for years I thought I failed. As I reflect now, the lessons I learned in being part of the group were as important as playing the accordion. The branch that needed cutting in my life is my ability to play a musical instrument, but I have found life giving instructions in those years about being part of a community and what it takes to be a community of support, inclusion, and love. For that I am extremely grateful!!
In Christ’s Love and Light,