This morning Reverend Linda Miller brought this parable to us:
A daughter is excited to see little Barbie-doll size green grapes growing on the vines. Her mother tells her that those grapes won’t amount to anything. The daughter does not give up hope; but, the next time she sees the vines she realizes the mother is right. The grapes have not grown and matured. They’ve turned dark, but remained small. They look like bunches of pepper corns. She asks her mother if there is something that can be done with those vines. Can they cut them back, or prune the plant in some way? Her mother tells her no. “Those are no good. We’ll have to tear down those branches and throw them into the fire.”
We don’t do apocalyptic stuff very often at Chalice, but that was the message I got from this parable. Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. We are to bear the fruit of Christ. What does that mean? We are to be the incarnation of Joy and Compassion and Hope and Justice. And if we are not, if we fail to bear fruit, well at some point you have to just throw those branches to the fire and start over.
I have a feeling that the Church is at a point when it must bear fruit. Do we stand for human dignity? Do we stand for stewardship of the earth? If we don’t, well, you can read the story.