The True Vine

I couldn’t face ‘Vision Sunday’ at church this morning, so I took myself off for a cold and blustery walk - and a pray.

And while I was walking and praying, a couple of thoughts came into alignment, and they seemed encouraging, so I thought I would share them here.

The first thought... In John’s Gospel, Jesus shares an illustration of what it is to be one of his followers, using a grapevine as the illustration:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.John 15: 1 (it’s probably worth all the way to verse 17 to get the full picture)

In short, it’s all about being firmly connected to God in Christ, and staying that way. It can feel like quite a challenge at times, especially when so much of life’s ‘stuff’ seems to come crowding in like weeds, threatening to choke off the connection and block out the light.

The second thought... Recently I watched a short series of programmes on TV about the history and culture of the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean, written and presented by Michael Scott. They were an enjoyable, colourful, interesting, wander through the island, which gave something of a flavour of the place and people. He started with the earliest times, and meandered through to the present day. Towards the end of the last programme, he visited a vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna (Europe’s largest active volcano). Twenty-five or thirty years ago, it had been in the path of an eruption, and a huge lava flow had ‘swallowed up’ part of the vineyard. And yes, there at the end of the pathway between the vines was an enormous, rough, black, solidly menacing, wall of rock - which had clearly burnt and squashed everything in its path...

Except that...

There were vines growing up through it! The branches, leaves, and everything above ground must have been consumed by the heat and weight of the eruption, but enough of a spark of life had been preserved under the ground for the vines (some of them at least) to begin to grow again and, decades later, here they were, having struggled their way up through cracks in the rock, and now triumphantly bearing rich, dark, ripe bunches of grapes!

I find that a very encouraging image... However bad things get, however much ‘life’ crowds in on us, threatening to cut off our life in Christ, The True Vine can still grow and still produce a rich crop of fruit. It’d take more than the fires of a volcano to snuff out His life in us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Galatians 5:22

God bless you!

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022