by Christine Sine
This week we will be harvesting fruit at the Mustard Seed House – apples and pears and plums are all ready to be picked and we are all ready to enjoy their sweet flavors. I must confess that this was where my attention drifted as Cherry Hairston gave her sermon yesterday and I recognized that this forms a good basis for meditation at this time of the year.
Cherry began with a quote from Julian of Norwich.
God made it, God loves it, God preserves it.
then handed out a hazelnut to each of us, encouraging us to look closely at it.
What do you see? she asked – a small brown nut, flat at one end and slightly pointed at the other. She then pointed out that what we see is only the surface. When we shake the nut you hear something rattling within. The x-ray eyes of faith enable us to see through the surface to the life within. she commented.
And that was what sent my imagination zooming. I didn’t have any hazelnuts but our harvesting the week, I realized would form a good basis for meditation. What if instead of a hazelnut I consider an apple, or a pear or a plum, or in fact any fruit? And it doesn’t even need to be straight of the tree.
So I thought you would like to join me.
So below I will share the process I went through and the responses that I had as I meditated on the fruit in my hand
Find a piece of Fruit or a nut. Hold it in your hand. What do you see, and feel?
For me it was the apples straight from the tree that grabbed my attention. I reached initially for the biggest and best one I could find, but then a smaller misshapen apple caught my attention. Green, with a blush of pink it sat comfortably in my hand. Wholesome, not perfectly shaped but appealing no less, with its promise of delightful flavors and sweet nourishment. I was tempted to immediately sink my teeth into it.
I rubbed it between my fingers. Most of it was smooth, with a few rough patches that made me wonder what lay beneath.
Shake your fruit. What do you hear?
Unlike a nut, a piece my apple makes no sound. There is nothing that gives me a sense of what lies beneath the surface. Is the fruit juicy and sweet? Is the flesh healthy? Is the centre filled with seeds with the hope of new life?
Cut into your fruit and take your first bite. What do you see, and smell, and taste?
My fruit may not look perfect but the flesh is sweet and delicious. A few brown spots mar its appearance, but those are easy to cut out. The juice runs down my arm. But in the centre as I suspected there is a small worm, just emerging and beginning to grow. Its egg invaded the fruit when it was small and defensively and has been waiting until the fruit is mature to emerge. The fruit needs to be eaten or processed quickly so that the flesh is not destroyed.
What can this piece of fruit teach you about yourself, about God and about God’s creation?
As I held this piece of fruit in my hand a lot of thoughts went through my mind.
In so many ways my life is like an apple. So often I want to look perfect on the outside, big and imposing for those around me to see. Yet I know that hiding beneath the surface there can be blemishes and maybe even a canker worm that if allowed to grow can destroy the fruit that God has prepared within me. And the only way to get rid of the disease is to cut it out, a painful process that I reluctantly put off as long as possible. Yet just as the worm will grow and destroy the beautiful flesh of the apple the longer I wait, so will my blemishes destroy the fruit God has created within my life the longer I wait.
What I also realize is that the fruit God has created within me is not for my own use but is created to be shared to nourish others. If I had tried to hold it to myself it would have destroyed all the fruit.
I suspect that there are other lessons that God will prompt me with as I continue to reflect on this.
Let me know what comes to you as you meditate on a piece of fruit or a nut too.