The Vine Dresser

As Fall and Winter bring a time of yard clean up and brush removal from the previous season, this time includes pruning the fruit trees, blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry bushes.? However of all the clipping and pruning, the experience that sticks with me? was that of grapevines. According to the old timers (and I suppose it is the industry standard) any vine branch that you intend to keep for the next growing season must be clipped two buds from stock. Counting up from the vine, One, Two…Clip. One, Two… Clip.? In addition any dead branches or branches that you anticipate will not receive any sunlight must be removed. One, Two…Clip. One Two…Clip. Clip, Clip. I find the job to be it to be therapeutic and contemplative – it is a nice reprieve from the ubiquitous techno world that I live in.?
While I was pruning my mind was jumping from one subject to the next, One, Two…Clip, I looked back on what I had finished and alas my vines looked naked, bare, cold and sad. As I looked at the branches that I had cut back I could see that they were secreting a fluid, almost as if weeping in pain. Taking all this in, my mind, as if in automatic response mode, jumps to the Biblical Gospel of John, chapter 15. In this chapter Jesus once again draws a powerful example from nature.? Ahh the simplicity of nature, the ABC?s of true education. Throughout the gospels Christ was often drawing on the surrounding environment to make examples of the Kingdom of Heaven that could readily be understood. This teacher from Nazareth, broke it down to such an elementary level that young children understood it as clear as day and yet to learned men, it was perceived to be of the most profound philosophical statements they had ever heard.?
Christ breaks it down this way: God the Father, He is the vinedresser, the gardener, the farmer, He is the one that does the pruning.? One, Two…Clip. Jesus is the Vine, He is the main stock that is rooted in the earth. Through Him, the branches (you and I) are nourished. You and I, are the branches. We are the ones that Christ enables to bear fruit. [?The fruit being Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance? Galatians 5:22] . But it doesn?t stop there, Jesus told his disciples, ?Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.? John 15:2 ESV. There is this refining process that takes place which often times hurts, One, Two…Clip, it may be cold, it may be extreme, but the promise is that a bumper crop will follow! The branch however that will produce fruit, will not produce fruit in it of itself, but can only produce when it is connected to the vine. We are all called to bear much fruit but there is an order of things. We must grow in Christ and come out of Christ or as the Biblical text says, we must abide or remain in Christ. We must be pruned, refined and redfined, cut back by the Father. God the Father does this that we may be more like His son Jesus and the fruit that we bear as a result will be a testament of His love for us and humanity and in that love we are to abide. One, Two…Clip. One, Two…Clip.?
By: Brandon Mascare?as

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