Usually I try to keep this blog about education and disabilities but I read an article and watched a TED talk that gave me pause to think about the wonder of the Church. At Syracuse University artist and art professor Sam Van Aken has developed the 40 Fruit Tree. He has actually been able to design and create a tree that grows over forty types of stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines, almonds, etc… The process is painstaking and takes 5 years per tree. When his “working tree” is about one he begins grafting a few “chips” or small budded branches from other fruit trees into a small incision on the “working tree” and lets it heal through the winter, then he prunes and cares for the branches as the grow. He continues the process, documenting and color-coding where each branch has been placed. By creating a timeline of when each fruit branch blossoms he is able to create a specific design of color on each tree when it blossoms. The Bible makes many references to Christians being grafted into the vine and being made part of the body of Christ, His Church. Romans 11:19 says, “then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Just like the 40 Fruit Tree Jesus has cut us from our old life and grafted us into His Church our “working tree” What a beautiful array of colors and fruits our gifts, callings, abilities, and cultures are, each branch yielding a different type of fruit and creating a tree that displays so much unity in diversity. We may be different types of fruit (cultures, abilities, and giftings) but we are all stone fruits (our unity in faith in Christ). Like Professor Van Aken carefully crafts, cares, and prunes his trees Jesus likewise cares for and prunes his Church. It is painful and a long process but what an amazingly wondrous tree it creates. Check out the website here http://www.treeof40fruit.com.