It’s spring in the vineyard. The vines that were pruned and dormant have come back to life. Just as the soil begins to warm, the sap stored in the trunk begins to rise up, and the vines weep. The mineral-rich sap is pushed out of the vine through the very wound of the pruning, like salve, healing the wound. Within days of the weeping of the vines, bud break happens. Now, tiny leaves are sprouting out of a dried, dead-looking vine, and the inflorescences, that have been in the making for a year, are about to erupt into minuscule flowers. The flowers will self-pollinate and become the grapes we will harvest in a few short months.
It was spring in the vineyard when Jesus spoke of being the True Vine. I can imagine Jesus walking along the vines, noticing the canes that had been pruned, lying on the ground and waiting to be burned. Maybe He stopped to marvel at the tiny buds being pushed out just below the cut of the pruned vine. “I am the True Vine and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful … If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Spring in the vineyard is a metaphor for what we are experiencing in the midst of coronavirus. The fruitful vine of our life and ministry has been pruned, and we weep. Our laments have risen to the Father, the Gardener. We have gone from gathering as the people of God to sheltering in place. Our teams have been scattered and some furloughed or let go. People we know and love have lost jobs, taken ill, and some have passed away. We anxiously watch the numbers go up on the news and wonder what will come next.
Friends, only one thing is needed … Remain in the vine. On the heels of weeping, we may notice that something new is growing. You see, the Father didn’t prune indiscriminately; He was very careful to leave two buds for each cut. The sap from the vine is now pushing out into the branches, breaking open the new buds that carry the hope for the next harvest.
As we remain in Christ, the love He has for the world, the sap of the vine, will push its way into us, into the buds and branches that produce fruit. Resist the urge to pick up what has been pruned off and try to make it fruitful again. Instead, pay attention to the new buds that are breaking into our world. We have an opportunity in this next season to bear the fruit of Christ’s love in our families, in our churches, in our communities and in the world.
About the Author
Susie Lipps has a degree in leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary where she works as a National Partnership Consultant. She lives in Sonoma County where she also runs a wine-country retreat for leaders called Conversations in the Vineyard. Susie loves coffee or wine accompanied by good conversations and yummy food.