There were memorable trees in my grandparents’ yard on the farm. There was an oak – tall and stately; as ancient, it seemed, as my grandfather himself. There was a crepe myrtle. It had been around for a while and had some height and heft, just enough for little boys to climb into it and make it a fortress against The Kingdom of All That Is Dark and Evil. There was a pecan tree, the bane of my existence every Thanksgiving week when the pecans it dropped to the ground had to be picked up and shelled (the pecan pies on the other end of that experience, however, is another story).
And sitting quietly beyond it all, over to the edge by itself, in the southeast corner of the yard was the peach tree. A good portion of the year, it was just there, watching and waiting its turn to be noticed. Then, in the spring we would begin to pay attention. Buds would appear, the first hints of fruit. Peaches would begin to take shape and grow. My grandmother would have to caution us. Picked too soon and the peaches would not be ready. Picked too late and they would be no good. So, we would watch and wait – sometimes eagerly, sometimes impatiently, always with anticipation. There is no greater taste than a fresh peach. Or a fresh peach cobbler. Or homemade peach ice cream.
Summertime would move in and peaches would ripen. Anticipation and patience would be rewarded as the peach tree yielded up her treasure and my grandmother would work her magic. The two in partnership – the peach tree and my grandmother – created a taste and an experience that lingers with me to this day and is recalled each time I touch or taste or smell a peach. I am transported back to that tree, in that yard and that time of possibility.
Which makes me wonder. Is the world watching and waiting for the disciples of Jesus to bear fruit? Do we hold with us the potential of reminding others of a tree, a garden, a time of possibility? Is there something in the life of discipleship that is fruitful and evokes a memory buried deep within? Is there a partnership between the Holy Spirit and disciples that creates a space of grace for others? Is that what Jesus calls us to do? Even more, is that what Jesus calls us to be?
We’ll talk about it Sunday. In the meantime, I’m off to find a bowl of peach ice cream. It won’t be the same, but it will be a reminder.
Grace and peace. rcf