Monday, October 6, 2008

The Vineyard

It’s not your typical morning. Something different in is the air. There is a hint of subtlety and quiet. A light fog lies down for a morning nap over the vineyard. It’s just you and your heartbeat that fills your ears for a moment.

Before you take one step into what seems to be sacred, you take a long look at the place. Rows and rows of vines create a landscape of beauty and mystery. What lies behind each row of vines and fruit? What sits on each vine as it slowly and quietly generates its choice fruit for its Gardener?

You almost feel out of place, like you’ve interrupted something reserved only for nature and its Maker. Still, it welcomes you to walk through, take it in, and learn from its ways.

The grass bows to your step as you enter the row in the middle of the vineyard. It’s almost as though the land-kissed cloud moves out of your way so you can get a better look at the vine. You can tell that the Gardener has taken time to place the branch of the vine on the exact position suited for it on the trellis. You smooth your hand over the leaf, hold the heavy grape cluster in your palm, then feel your way down the branch. Finally, kneeling down, you softly touch the trunk of the vine.

His words return to you, “I am the vine; you are the branch.”

You realize there is no great distinction between the vine and branch. The lesser comes out of the greater. The lesser has the same attributes, characteristics and beauty as that of the vine. And yet, the branch is useless without the vine. In the same way, in order for the vine to produce it’s sweet, life-giving fruit, it needs the branch.

Someone’s coming. The Gardener comes from around the end of the row. He has on overalls, boots, a gardening hat, gloves, and hasn’t shaved this morning. In his hand you see the pruning knife.

“Good morning!” He says joyfully. “I’ve got some work to do, but feel free to keep looking around. There’s a lot to see.”

You take a step back, eager to watch what happens next. He clips the fruit, lays it in a bucket and then proceeds to keep cutting the branch back.

“But, that branch produced such beautiful fruit,” you say.

He replied, “Oh, I know! But, I need it to produce even more fruit. Better fruit. Lasting fruit. That’s why I’ve got to cut it back to the vine for awhile. It gives it strength, vitality, focus. Next year, you come back and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Yes, indeed, this batch will make some delicious wine for many to enjoy!”

You spend a few more hours just walking around. You can hear the Gardener faintly as you continue through the rows. You notice some branches are fragile and don’t have any fruit. Some have small fruit, the kind you’d be afraid to bite into lest your face crinkle up in surprise of its bitterness.

And still, the ones you are most taken with have the rich, dark, luscious fruit hanging down as if to be heavy with Life!

There is much to learn in the vineyard, you decide.

And so we will.

Welcome to our study for October. We’ll meet back here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a walk in the vineyard. Here, deep in the misty rows of His Vineyard, we will uncover truth in these vines that will change your life forever.

Welcome to... The Vineyard.


sailorcross said...

Thank you for doing this study. I awaken early, and this is a wonderful way to start my day.

I know I will always have much to learn in God's Word, and I know that I need some pruning in some areas so that I can truly be "attached to the Vine".


GratefulinGA said...

Natalie, me again...not wanting to be rude or anything but this is too important to worry about that, we're looking to recruit an army, sooooo here I am just wondering if you and yours would hop over here and see what YOU can DO.
much love and blessings,

Denise said...

Thank you for doing this study, really looking forward to it.

Tammy said...

Oh this was just what i needed this afternoon. It was a wonderful blessing to my heart and I look forward to more.

Anonymous said...

I am here teacher. Over here!!! Do you see me? I am raising my hand!! I know I am far away.

Natalie...I am looking forward to this study. I love this in the Bible when he says that He is the vine and we are the branches. Thanks for all the work you do on these studies. It really is a huge blessing.

FULL OF JOY said...

Very excited, thanks for putting so much in to these.

Mary said...

Man I've been counting the days! I've had an insane week so I'm having to catch up on all week's lessons today! But I'm stoked! I love studies about this portion of the Bible! Ready to dig in with you!

Anonymous said...

I am slow to jump in here but excited for the study. I have had a couple of the later ones RSS to my email, but now I'm starting from the beginning. I love the study of the vine.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.