There is no doubt that “we love because God first loved us.” [1 John 4:19] To keep on loving we need to receive God’s love continuously otherwise we become dry and withered. It is essential we accept the necessary pruning and feeding, allowing God to nurture us. We who have lived in cities or places where vines don’t grow, do not always remember the place of seasons in the productivity of vines and branches. Probably about half of a congregation in an area that produces table grapes, works in the vineyards year round. They know it is a continuous job caring for the vines to have the best fruit. Pruning the right bits is a skill as is training the branches to grow along the wires. Even when the branches have begun bearing, the fruit needs protection from frosts, insects, birds, hailstorms and moulds. There is continuous input from gardeners for optimum results. We can reasonably expect that God, the Gardener would work with great skill and care.
As we do not expect vines to produce all year round so it is likely that God provides times of fruitfulness and times of regeneration for us. Where they grow the table grapes, there are different varieties planted so that the productivity is spread over many months. There are times when we can leave the work to others and times when it is our turn to produce our best results, guided by the Spirit within.
Perhaps you might like to buy some grapes today and as you eat them, ponder the implications of the fruit of the vine of which you are a branch and dare to be impulsive in your response to the Spirit’s stirring within you.
REv Julianne Parker
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