“I am the fruit tree and you are the branches. I will be in the person who is in me. That person will have a fruitful life. But you can do nothing without me.” (John 15v5 WE)
“What does mango really taste like? I’ve never tasted anything exotic” said Charlie, staring up at the tree towering above him.
Ned’s grandpa laughed. “Why don’t you go ahead and find out for yourselves? I would join you if I was fifty years younger.”
Ned punched the air in delight, running to fetch the step ladder. He placed it against the trunk, climbed up and swung himself onto the first branch. Charlie followed.
But Ned being a little taller, and a little older than Charlie, climbed half way up the tree within seconds. “The best ones grow at the top!” he shouted down through the leaves to Charlie.
“Hey, wait for me!” shouted Charlie. But Ned kept on climbing up. Charlie grabbed a higher branch and swung his legs wildly, like a monkey to pull himself up. But he only had little arms, and he lost his grasp of the branch.
“Yowwww!” he screamed, falling hard on the ground below. “My ankle!”
Charlie’s mom ran out into the garden still holding her cup of coffee. “Oh Charlie!” she said. She put an ice pack on his ankle and made him sit down.
“But I wanted to get a mango!” Charlie complained.
“There’s one” said Mom, pointing to a small shrivelled mango. It was hanging on a low branch that was half broken from the main trunk. She picked it and gave it to Charlie. “We should get you home” she said.
As they were leaving, Ned jumped down from the tree, his arms full of mangoes. “Here, take another one. What happened to you, Charlie?” he asked.
“I fell trying to keep up with you!” Charlie said.
Mom helped Charlie to the car, and when they parked on their street, she helped him out. They heard a loud whizzing sound, and suddenly a dog rolled past on a skateboard. Charlie laughed so loud he doubled over. But he tripped, falling onto someone else’s front garden.
“Yowww!” he cried.
“Get your boy off my flowers, I saw him! Trying to steal my roses!” said an old man crossing the garden.
“No! He’s hurt his ankle, and just fell when he was looking the other way. My boy would never steal anything, Mr Hampton” said Mom.
The old man retreated into his house, muttering to himself. “Don’t listen to him. He used to be so full of love, but something bad happened and he never forgave his friend, or God. Now his heart is bitter” said Mom.
When they got home, Mum cut up the two mangoes and Charlie held the ice pack onto his ankle.
Charlie took a piece from the first plate. “Mmmm, so sweet, I love it!” he said taking another piece.
“Try this one” said Mom, offering him the second plate. Charlie took a piece and spat it out. “Yuck! That’s disgusting!”
“That’s the shrivelled one from the broken branch. When the branch broke, all the sweetness from the trunk couldn’t reach it anymore, so it couldn’t ripen.”
Charlie thought for a minute. “Just like Mr Hampton” he said.
“Exactly! We’re like the branches, and Jesus is the trunk. If we stay connected, our lives are full of sweetness and we make yummy fruit” said Mom.
“Then I’m gonna make loads of marvellous mangoes!” said Charlie.
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