There is a well-known quote by Martin Luther that circulates from time to time:
“If the world were to end tomorrow, and they would tell me that, I would still plant my apple tree today.” The apple tree is one of my favorites, partly because I love all things apple. There is an area near Placerville, California called Apple Hill. It is a series of orchards and was one of my favorite places to visit when we lived in the San Francisco area. If it is made with something apple, they have it in Apple Hill. Apple pies, apple fritters, apple cake, apple butter, apple sauce, and apple doughnuts.
One of the other reasons I like the apple tree is it has beautiful blossoms in the spring. Sometimes it blooms even before spring has fully arrived. It can be a reminder that spring is coming even before the winter is fully over. It is sending forth a promise even when conditions may not be the best for the blossoms. What other trees bloom when there might be snow on the ground? I am not a botanist, but I think the plum tree is one, and I’ve seen apple blossoms in some cold conditions.
The quote by Luther reminds me of the value of each day and every moment. Every day has a value that can be recognized and celebrated. There is no guilt left from yesterday, there is not supposed to be worry about tomorrow, and you plant the apple tree today. It is a challenge living this out. I tend to relive moments from the past, and to worry about the future. Living fully in the present is a spiritual practice, and one I need God’s help with to embrace. If I am faithful to this practice, even in a small way, I think I can get more out of each day, and live more deeply into God’s presence, and how God is working in and through me every day.
I am not doing this right all the time, but I can be like the apple tree and the plum tree, trying to bear fruit even when conditions are not the greatest. I can get up in the morning and give the day to God, try to treat people with respect, do whatever work I’m called to do that day, try to be there for the people who need me, try to be compassionate, try to be forgiving, and on and on. My faith enables me to keep trying even when I don’t do these things well. Every day is a gift.
Lord, guide us to live each day completely in your presence, calling us to the tasks of that day. Help us to let go of the mistakes of yesterday and look forward to the new opportunities of tomorrow. As we live more fully into each moment and every day, may our service to you grow in ways we cannot imagine, bringing love, compassion, and forgiveness to others in your name. AMEN.