On this summer Sabbath, I notice that one of the Red Tip Photinias in my yard is full of dead branches. Who knows how long they’ve been there. It takes until Sabbath for me to notice things. So, I pull on gardening gloves and start to pull. The branches come off easily. Some are just laying in the branches, as if they were waiting for me.
As I pull on one particularly stubborn dead stick, I notice that it shields a nest. I let go, gently. Further inspection reveals another nest. Both are at least a foot over my head, so I can’t tell if they still hold eggs. Just in case they do, I cease my pruning.
I am aware of the dead branches in my life — painfully aware. But not so much of the nests. Surely God is doing something new up there, beyond my reach. Maybe it’s something about to hatch, or maybe the nest is a receptable for something yet to be born.
Either way, I’d better leave it alone. I abandon my bush, pull off my gloves, and consider Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 about the weeds and the wheat: “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.”
The harvest is not yet come. I don’t want to damage those precious nests. So I leave the dead branches right where they are. This harvest is Your business, Lord. Thanks for this morning’s Red Tip surprise.