Monday, October 17, 2011

Abide in Me

This post is really supposed to be about how we made juice out of the grapes we grew from the vine that our former neighbors gave us several years back. The problem is I'm finding it impossible to write about the fruit of the vine without my mind immediately going to John 15. It was one of my favorite chapters of the Bible growing up and it remains a favorite to this day. I vividly remember sitting near our pool in our backyard at 1527 Frank Kenny Road reading that passage over and over again. I really wanted to grasp the 'abide in Me' part. I remember thinking that the whole text evoked in me both a peaceful feeling and an unmistakable dread. Although I wasn't fond of the idea of being pruned and what that might actually mean in my life, I especially dreaded the possibility that I could be a fruitless branch that would eventually be cut off and cast in the fire.

Fast-forward many years, and I find myself marveling at how brilliant Jesus was to compare himself to a vine.. Yes, absolutely brilliant, but not surprisingly so, right?.  After all, as I've been reading in Colossians, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible...He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." The God-man knew then and the God-man knows now...and He's making known to us the many spiritual implications we can draw from the business of vinedressing.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned:
  1. that a vine doesn't produce any fruit for the first few years (we can't summon fruit on our own strength)
  2. that the vinedresser must prune the branches so that new shoots will grow the next year (we must die to self if we want to grow---trials act like God's pruning in our lives to cause growth)
  3. that when the right time comes, it's almost effortless for the branches to produce fruit if they are solidly anchored to the vine (when we're focused on knowing Jesus and listening to the Helper He kindly left us, He transforms us from within and low and behold, we discover it´s become surprisingly easier to be kind, joyful, peaceful)
  4. that the branches that extend too far from the vine cannot bear as much fruit (when we let ourselves drift away from our Savior and ignore the nudges of the Holy Spirit, we lose our opportunities to grow and may even stop producing fruit altogether)
  5. that one has to wait patiently for the fruit to ripen and be just right so it can reach optimum sweetness (God, who's begun a good work in us, will perfect us to the end. He is patient with us.) 
  6. that no matter how much fruit a branch may bear, its sweetness ultimately depends on the variety of the grapevine it grows out of (when we're grounded in Jesus, our fruit ultimately points others to the awesomeness of the Only True Vine and not to ourselves)
So there you have it.  My John 15 Reflections in a nutshell. Or is it a cluster? ;)

Okay, I can now proceed to the actual story.
Or maybe I'll just let the pictures tell the tale.

Our vine in July heavy with clusters.

Clusters are looking healthy. We are ecstatic!!

"Oh, wait, now they're purple! My favorite!"
Lou's Bimart Special comes in handy. So does his iron cast stove and propane hose.

Are we a bit excited, boys?

We filled this pan to the rim three times with all our clusters!! 

Say goodbye to purple grapes and hello to yummy grape juice
 (that's what coming down the hose)!

This is what we ended up with, still only partially diluted and
made out of genuine concord grapes, water, and a bit of sugar!

Every drop of juice is accounted for. The question kept coming,
"How many grapes do you think it took to make this much juice?"

Must. Enjoy. Every. Single. Drop.

 Thanks to our rationing, we still aren't even halfway done enjoying every single drop of juice.


  1. This is AWESOME!!!
    Love these photos...
    The last one of "Mr. Dah-dees" cracks me up :)

  2. Yes...Mr. Dah-dees was being a bit ridiculous. I had hoped to have you and Benintendis be here to witness the event...but Andrew was being spur-of-the-moment about it and so I just decided to let it go. How was Laura's b-day?