Today I took some time out from learning how to become more proficient with websites, social media and streaming services to learn about something completely different-how to prune my blackcurrant bushes! We are very fortunate to have inherited a number of beautiful fruit bushes in the garden and have enjoyed a bountiful harvest of strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. As I love blackcurrant jam this has been great and allowed me to enjoy the simple pleasure of making-and eating!- my own jam. The drawback is that whilst I love gardening my skills are quite limited. I have a tendency to merrily cut things back far too drastically and usually at the wrong time of the year! Not wanting to spoil the harvest of soft fruits I took a look at some of the many you tube videos offering a step by step guide. What in theory looks and sounds quite simple was far more daunting when I went and looked at my own bushes, ipad clutched in one hand and secateurs in the other. Was this a one year old stem or a two year old stem? Which was the new growth and which could I safely cut off? At that point I decided it was too cold to stand there for any longer and I would tackle it another day!! But one very clear piece of advice was on all the sites I looked at, and that was to create a hole in the middle of the plant to allow light in and growth to occur that would then bear fruit.

As I thought about this it struck me that perhaps many of us at the moment feel as though there is a hole in the middle of our lives, an empty place which would normally be filled with a thousand and one different things. Things like work, commuting, socialising, shopping, entertaining, being entertained, many things which would keep our lives busy -and often too busy. With so much of our normal lives and routines disrupted we can feel as though our life suddenly has a hole in it. The circumstances that have led to this situation are tragic and together we must do all that we can to combat this dreadful disease by following government guidelines, being sensible and not putting ourselves and others at risk. But, let us also take this opportunity to allow that space in our lives to be a place which God fills. Let us see this as an opportunity to grow closer to God in prayer, in reading his word, in praise and worship. Read a good Christian book, meditate and allow God first and foremost to fill that empty space. So much of what we cram into our lives distracts and distances us from God, May this be a time to remedy that and find, as we do so, that God will give us his peace that passes all understanding.

I am reminded of the lyrics of “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen..”There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Just as tomorrow the secateurs and I will be attempting to let the light in to my blackcurrant bushes, so may the cracks in our world that have been caused by Covid-19 allow the light of Christ to fill the sudden hole in our lives more and more each day, because then, there really will be, a joyful and fruitful harvest.

The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt

” Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you…..” Revelation 3 v 20

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