One of God’s gifts to us in creation is the seasons. The shifts we experience, which are more pronounced in some parts of the world but felt in all, teach us something deep about Christian life and discipleship and are a theme that the bible comes back to frequently.
In John 15 Jesus describes two seasons of life in the disciple, a time of fruit and a time of pruning. No one is fruitful all the time, and individuals and communities all experience both seasons. The key to continued growth is to abide in Jesus in both these times just as a branch lives in the vine of which it is a part.
The season of rest, when growth is pruned away, can be a hard and difficult time, it can feel like a little death. In our experiences such times can involve the failure of a vision, the end of a community or the absence of roles or tasks to follow. They often force us to confront the darker sides of the visionary’s life and face down the lie that our community’s success is dependent on us or on the work we put in. They remind us that apart from Jesus there is no fruit.
God will lead us into such seasons as he chooses, but often individuals and communities will also choose to embrace a time of rest where the activities of the group are pruned so that together they may focus on abiding in Jesus. Many places do this in the summer, at a time when in the UK at least, there can be a natural slowing of pace.
Over the next few weeks our contributors are going to tell you how their communities have sought rest and helped one another embrace abiding. We invite you to follow their stories, and consider how you might purposefully invest in your life with God.
What season of life does it feel like your community is in?
How might you make some space to abide in Jesus this summer?
If you can’t wait till next week, check out our friend Andrew’s recent post on seasons here.
The picture at the top is by Cabodevassoura and found on Flickr.