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Lent reflection Cover Image

The Vine, John 15:1-16

5th Apr 2019

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. (NRSV)

 wine composite

Gardening is one of my favourite pastimes, it has always been a part of my life and I have very fond memories of helping my Grandpa in his garden as a small child. His garden was full of beautiful flowers like dahlias, delphiniums and roses and his vegetable patch brimming with tomatoes, lettuce and goosegogs (his word for gooseberries!).  My Dad was a Captain in the merchant navy, away from home for long periods of time so growing up as one of four children we all had to help Mum out by undertaking tasks in the garden. My favourite was planting and nurturing the seeds, my worst job was collecting the grass cuttings around the edge of the lawn!

As an adult all the homes we have owned have had gardens to tend.  I love growing produce and it is so satisfying to pick some tomatoes, lettuce, blackcurrants, gooseberries or beans and cook a delicious meal for the family.  Gardening can show quick results but also takes time for the full effect to become evident.

Pruning is a major activity in gardening, especially with roses and fruit bushes. I have learnt the hard way that not pruning at the right time can really reduce the yield.  Its important to cut out old withering branches and let light, air and nutrients into the new growth.  The fruit is fuller, plumper and tastier when grown in the right conditions and with the correct care.

Love is a big part of gardening too. Love for nature and the beauty of all that God has provided, love and caring to nurture seeds to grow, love for the miracle of life.

I have never grown a grape vine but this year Tim, my husband, was given a Grow It Wine kit for his birthday. It has sat on the side for several months but today I am spurred on to make a start. The box clearly states,  plant * water * grow – how hard can it be? On reading the instructions inside however, I learn that growing vines is a difficult, time consuming process with a high failure rate. I will have to be patient, if I am successful it could take time around three years before I will see any reward for my efforts and it will be a very long time before we will ever have enough grapes to produce a single bottle of red wine!  Through the years I will need to water, pot on as the plants grow, feed and nourish, love and cherish. And in time they will need pruning as well.

Jesus does all this for us, every day, if we allow him to be the vine and God the vinegrower.

Jane Travis, St John's staff