An old Vine

Today is an important day in the life of my grapevine: the sap begins to run and pours out in clear, sparkling drops onto the paving stones below. I had already started to trim a few of the dead winter branches away, and I love to run my finger over the cuts I have made and feel the sap running. It is a promise that there will be deep shade during July when we most need it, and further on, of dark fruit at summer’s end.

This is not my vine. I inherited it from another resident, and so I take my vine dressing responsibilities very seriously. To be truthful, it does not demand much. There are only two times of year when I must pay careful attention: now, and in late summer when fruit ripens because of the summer heat and I must harvest quickly.  Waiting for me to finish my work, a large grey song thrush comes then and settles herself deep in the leaves for a feast.

When Paul talks about the church, he refers to cutting off branches to bring more life. He says that we gentiles have to understand that we are like shoots, supported by another community that is much deeper and much more solid. Looking at my vine, I can see what he means. Branches near the stock have deep knots and stubs. They are covered by skin like brown paper that slips off in curls like hair. These branches learn well. They can be trained to grow straight across a roof or pergola. They form a framework that carries the heavy leaves and fruit.

Paul was referring to a community of Jesus-following Jewish believers who formed the robust branches of the early church at that time. They carried the writings of the prophets and the apostles. They strengthened the church, by keeping it from getting lop-sided. Some branches even bent themselves into Hebrew letters: a forked chof or a tzaddik jabbing in the air with one brown gnarled finger, but always giving life to the church. Over time, though, the church forgot about these old paper-covered branches and they became broken or were even cut off, since they seemed to go nowhere.

There was less and less fruit with each passing year. Or there was fruit, but it was bitter, or the grapes were very small.  And people did not think about the vine. They even forgot about the fruit, perhaps even threw it away.

When I stepped out on my patio this morning to see the splashes of sap, I was filled with hope. Not just hope for Spring, but hope that the deep reservoirs of memory, energy, and fruitfulness in our lives and in our communities will gush forth. Lent is the time to rejoice both in the creaking of dry wood, the dull thud of nails and the snapping of greenwood. It is a time to reflect on what carries us. Doubtless , I’ll do more trimming in the next week. I hope it will bring good fruit.

Veröffentlicht von jdavidmartin68

Pro-lifer, Charismatic Christian who has been in the 24/7 prayer movement since 2008, bass player, translator, writer, father, husband, affiliated with a variety of ministries in Europe. Note that all views, opinions and thoughts expressed here reflect my own convictions, persuasions and ideas, not necessarily those of any ministry, political organization, secret cabal or other body, club or agency to which I do, may or could have belonged or been associated.

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