27 Apr 2016
God is something of a gardener and a surgeon. He goes around pruning and cutting away, so that new growth and new life can happen. Of course, we focus on this a lot during Lent, when God inspires us to “give up” things, to slow down and spend more time in prayer, to fast and to give alms. But God’s pruning and cutting away is just a part of life for us, year round. Maybe that’s why those Pharisees-turned-Christians had a hard time letting go of the practice of circumcision.
They knew that God is something of a gardener and a surgeon; the growth of the people depended on God’s “cutting away.” When you think about it, the idea of circumcision really supports God’s command to: “Be fertile and multiply.” What better way (apparently) to foster the growth of the nation than by “cutting away” or “pruning” that which causes reproduction!
And what better way is there to grow the Christian people than by “pruning” our souls, minds, and hearts . . . After all, that’s where we share life and grow together—on the spiritual level. The Christian people are bound together, and expand because of our circumcised hearts.
God really is something of a gardener and a surgeon. And he’s a master at it: he works very carefully to cut away the “dead” parts of us, or maybe habits that stunt our growth. He prunes our tendencies toward: gossip, gluttony, fear, selfishness and all the rest. Sometimes he even cuts away things that have been good for us, so that new growth—especially growth in trusting him—can happen.
Circumcision is just part of our life as “branches on the Vine.” And it’s not only part of our life; we depend on it for our life and growth. And so, next time God comes around to prune us, we needn’t be afraid. Instead, we can say: “Ah! New life is coming!”