Post #4.11, Thursday, January 23, 2020

Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul

         A winter’s day — a clean page — The task is to prune the vineyard. When he first took on this land Ezra planted this vineyard between the river and the cottage where I once grew wheat. Now Ezra, whom I instructed only yesterday on thatch is telling me how to prune vines. I thought I knew.

         “I thought you knew how to do this, Papa? You told it in a Jesus story.”

         “Clearly that was a metaphor about relationship together with God and not really about vines. Jesus said, ‘I am the true vine and you are the branches, those who abide in me and I in them will bear much fruit.’ (John 15:1-5, NRSV) But then he recommends those that do not bear fruit be thrown unto the fire.” (John 15:6)

         “Surely I’m not God the vine tender, Papa, but I also use that method of pruning. I do a hard pruning and burn what won’t produce.”

         “So you mean all these dead ones get uprooted and set afire?”

         Now my son laughs at my ignorance. “No Papa! There will be no uprooting in my vineyard!  The roots are good though they may seem gnarly. Only cut these stray shoots. They are like wayward and disconnected thoughts that take from the richness of the fruit. But please keep these roots and cordons. I leave the buds that are closest to the vine and keep them in numbers depending upon the strength of the vine. Jesus had it right. It all has to connect to the source.”

         “A-ha! That was the message of that! I kind of wondered about all that sorting and burning Jesus was affirming. It’s more fitting of his wide love message to think we are not dividing up good people from bad people so much as choosing within our own selves the most love connected ways to hold others in our hearts. It is a much better metaphor with that more personal nuance.”

         “So the pruning bible lesson is a new idea? Papa, I never expected you would find a new idea in an old Jesus lesson.”

         “Of course! The old is new for me all the time. It’s like pruning vines. Cut away the old fronds and save the buds that have yet to produce. See I’m already catching on.”

         “So did this new Jesus of our own time have a word about Landlords and taxes?”

(continues Tuesday, January 28)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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