Thinking of this saying of Jesus, I looked in a ‘gardening- book’, to see how grapevines are actually grown. I read that they grow best in rich deep soil and in this country facing a southern direction and preferably given the protection of a strong wall.
Immediately after planting young vines, they should be pruned to encourage strong shoots to grow and thereafter pruned on a yearly basis.
No wonder Jesus chose the picture of a vine to illustrate His relationship with his disciples and the church! Just reading about growing them has given me many ideas I could develop with you! This is just one!
What does the growing of vines say to the church today?
Jesus is the main vine. From Him new shoots have grown and been re- planted. All have grown into His different churches and denominations. In order to flourish, all of us need to be thoroughly nourished with all He has provided, e.g. The Scriptures, The Sacraments, Fellowship, Sharing and Prayer.
We need a strong wall of our faith to protect us from the storms of life.
We need regular examination of how we are growing in our faith and faults and bad habits pruned off so that they don’t hinder our development. Advent and Lent are times of the year provided by the church for self- examination, our times for regular ‘pruning’!
In St. John ch.15, v: 8, Jesus goes on to say,
“My true disciples produce much fruit.”
What have our spiritual harvests produced this year?