I wrote this poem in response to a sermon I heard on John 15. As Pastor Herron was preaching, Christina Rossetti’s poem “Long Barren” came to mind. I used the last line of her poem as the first line of mine and then reversed her stanza form to create mine. I also extended her ideas of emptiness and feebleness to those of bearing some fruit, pleading for more fruit, and the pruning process that God uses in our lives so we can bear much fruit.
Feed Thou my feeble shoots,
Bearing no grapes.
O Flourishing Vine, Thy firm, stable roots
My dying branch. Thy strength produces fruit.
Trim Thou dead, sickly leaves
O Patient Vinedresser, my weakness needs
Thy tender care.
Lift up my limp branches. “More fruit!” I plead.
Tend Thou my thriving branch
O Faithful Harvester, Thy constant touch
Nurtures and reaps.
My branches—grafted, pruned and purged—bear much.
by Natalie Cary copyright 2009
The Bible also uses the image of testing and refining metals (I Peter 1:6-7, Isaiah 48:10, Zechariah 13:9) to describe how God purifies us through trials. The sanctification process certainly isn’t easy or painless, but I was comforted today to remember that God is with me through the process.