Standing in the middle of a vineyard in winter, I feel a kindred connection to these gnarled and twisted and fruitless vines.
In the summertime, these acres were covered in vibrant green leaves and heavy with sweet and tart future wine. Following the harvest, the vinedresser came along and pruned all the fruit-bearing branches, leaving the plants to wait out the winter in naked isolation.
Losing the once-fruitful parts can look like some kind of judgement. My own gnarled vacancies have stung like unjust punishments.
But a winter vineyard isn’t a defeated field. Row after row of expectant hope lives in these twisted stumps.
Pruning isn’t punishment.
Pruning is a promise of future fruit.
Winemakers know the cutting back of the fruitful branches is absolutely necessary. Without pruning, there will be no more wine. An unpruned vine essentially becomes useless.
My Vinedresser knows this too. He said, “...every branch in me that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
Not a single cut is made without deliberate foresight and careful precision of the Vinedresser. This removal of formerly fruitful things is all performed with assurance of future fruit.
Those of us in the same field, recently pruned and mourning past abundance, are wise to surrender it all as an offering of joyful worship to the only wise and kind Vinedresser.
Spring is surely coming.