A few years ago, the late Bud Wilson envisioned planting a vineyard at Second RP as visible picture of the church and of our union with Jesus Christ. One of the deacons labored to plant and care for that vineyard of Chardonnay (apparently) and Concord here on the church property. The vineyard is now in the midst of its fourth summer and its first to bear fruit.
God delights to display the imagery of the vineyard in his word. He describes Israel as the vine he brought forth from Egypt in Psalm 80 and as the vineyard that brought forth rotten grapes in Isaiah 5, thus incurring his wrath. In John 15:5, Jesus declares “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Earlier in the summer, the church vineyard provided wonderful illustrative material as I preached on Isaiah 5. Since then, I’ve enjoyed walking up and down the rows, inspecting the vineyard, meditating on the truths illustrated, and claiming the promises of God as I pray that this congregation would abide in Christ and her members would draw their life from him.
This week, that deacon pointed me a few ripe grapes – the firstfruits. I popped one in my mouth, and as the sugary juice rolled across my taste buds, all I could say was “Wow – That’s good!” The sweetness of the harvest far exceeded my expectation. What joy! As you can see from the picture taken today, there is a great harvest to come in the next few weeks, and it makes me long for a great spiritual harvest.
Pray that we would abide in Jesus and that the Father would delight in the fruit he would harvest here and in his vineyard throughout the earth!