Wilf and Bess met up with Joe and Ben for their morning stroll around the lower meadows. Ben and Bess began frantically chasing every thing in sight: each other, their tails, a skylark and then a noisy partridge. Their efforts to chase the grazing cows ended with the tables being turned on them and they decided to settle down to a more measured and less destructive pace.
Suddenly, old Wilf said, “What did you think to the sermon on the Vine this week?”
“Good! But I can’t imagine why the Good Lord wanted to use the Vine example – why not an apple or a pear tree. I much prefer those fruits to grapes, and another thing vines aren’t very attractive in the scale of things.”
“Mmm.” mmmed Wilf and went on, “I‘m not sure that ‘I am the apple tree and you are the branches’ is as poetic as the Vine verse in the Bible. Maybe the bramble would have been acceptable though; I love blackberry pie and the thorns could represent the Lord’s crown on the cross.”
“Yes, but remember we are the branches. It would give the impression we were very prickly, don’t you think? We are encouraged by the vicar to show patience and love to others.”
Whilst they were discussing the pro and cons of fruit trees, Ben and Bess had sniffed out a badger’s sett and were prancing around barking but wisely keeping their distance. Joe snapped an order for them to come to heel. It was a case of third time lucky! They finally decided to put the dogs on their leashes until they had gone past the sheep field. Farmer Roberts had threatened to shoot the ‘damned dogs’ when they had scattered his pregnant sheep that spring.
After a while Joe brought up the subject again, “Although I don’t much care for eating grapes I am partial to a glass of red wine – maybe it was all to do with using wine to represent Christ’s shed blood. What do you think Wilf?”
“Of course, but you can get white wine too. Myself, I much prefer a beer but I don’t think that would come into the equation. He could have chosen the Vine example because he likes gardening. Look around you; see how beautiful he keeps his countryside, sending all that rain and sunshine. Maybe he just likes all the pruning it takes to bring forth really good fruit.”
“That could be it Wilf, the Lord must have an uphill struggle to try and make useful people out of us. Perhaps, he just likes lopping off dead branches – do you think that
means things in our lives that hinder him, being chopped off?”
The two of them stood still for quite a while watching the farmer spreading foul smelling manure. With their minds on the Creator they saw the farmer as someone who worked hard to grow his crops. Yes, a picture of God – Yes, God the Heavenly Farmer.
Jn 15vv 1&2
‘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 trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful.’ NIV
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