ISSUES OF FAITH: Cut away what holds growth back

IT’S FEBRUARY AND time to begin pruning the vineyards in Eastern Washington where we get our grapes.

Wine vines are by nature nearly wild, even if “domesticated” like Cabernet Sauvignon or Riesling.

Anybody around here who has a grape vine knows what I mean.

Grapes grow uncontrollably and many a cute sprig from the nursery can take over an arbor in a few years and maybe with no grapes to show for its vigor — unless it is pruned.

In a commercial vineyard, pruning is essential.

As an example, long, now-dormant branches that grew last season might shade fruit this year if not removed.

More importantly, fruit quality is directly related to the amount of fruit each vine is allowed to produce.

With a trained eye and experience, each fruiting cane will be pruned to only two buds.

With more buds, the vine will produce more grapes, but each cluster will be smaller and not as flavorful — not a good result for making the best wine.

This year, the season of pruning and the Christian season of Lent overlap, and the purposes are similar.

Pruning is a paring back for better fruit.

Lent is traditionally a time to “give up” or pare back on something you really like in memory of the suffering of Jesus to come in 40 days. But it can also be a time to intentionally trim things that are keeping you from bearing better fruit.

In the Gospel of John in Chapter 15 (NIV), the author quotes Jesus saying: “I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Pruning sounds a bit painful if you are a vine, and metaphorically ourselves, but I came across a whimsical thought written by Margaret Wyllie that described pruning from the vine’s perspective.

Part of her muse goes like this:

But the gardener is so gentle and kind in the way he prunes. It sometimes make me laugh as he cuts away the dead wood, that I never even knew was there. He can see what stops my growth and understands why I can’t. He knows just the right way to cut away what needs to go and leave room and energy for the good branches to grow good fruit. I can get so worn down with the weight of dead branches.

I do urge you, when you’re called to take time out and be pruned, don’t hesitate. Just step aside, give yourself over to the master gardener and watch the fruit grow.

Lent or not, this should still be time for pruning plants and life.

Pruning in the garden for the plant’s health and to let the summer sunshine into the heart of the tree for the ripest of fruit. But even if you don’t have a garden, consider buying a pair of pruning clippers over Lent.

Keep them in view as a metaphor for what can be cut out of your life that will let you see the sun better. The sun is waiting to be let in, too.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Don Corson is an Ordained Deacon in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the winemaker for a local winery. He is also the minister for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Forks. His email is ccwinemaker@gmail.com.

More in Life

OPEN’s Spring Tack Sale is Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 251 Roupe Road (off Hooker Road). Proceeds benefit rescued horses, minis, ponies (such as the one pictured with grossly overgrown hooves) and donkeys. Western and English saddles, saddle pads, halters, sheets, bits, bridles; western jewelry, clothes, boots and more. (photo by Valerie Jackson)
HORSEPLAY: Clean up after yourself and your horse

CLEAN UP ON aisle 7! Remember: Unlike a grocery store clerk who… Continue reading

The Olympic Kiwanis Club reports that its recent electronics recycling event was even more popular than planned for.
Kiwanis recycling event a success

The Olympic Kiwanis Club reports that its recent electronics recycling event in… Continue reading

Future Chefs contest names cooking contest winners

Sodexo and the Port Angeles School District have announced… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Get the dirt on soil

SINCE WE TALKED extensively about you growing your own award-winning vegetables, we… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Finding solace in song

WHEN OUR DAUGHTER Maggie died, I found so much comfort in listening… Continue reading

OUUF speaker scheduled

The Rev. Bruce Bode will present “Are All Humans… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Love is Orange:… Continue reading

The Rev. Cindy Akana
Program scheduled for OUUF on Sunday

The Rev. Cindy Akana will present “Nurturing Your Inner… Continue reading

Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News   
Now is the perfect time to lay down some rich, organic compost and rake in a high quality grass seed for a beautiful lawn come summer.
A GROWING CONCERN: Garden chore list grows in spring

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, the grass has risen, now’s the time to get… Continue reading

Some of the evidence recovered when they were arrested.
BACK WHEN: Jail break on the Olympic Peninsula

THE STORIES OF life and crime can take many twists and turns.… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a bastion of truth against the onslaught of lies

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth… Continue reading

Weekend hybrid program planned

Ari Ostlie will present “The Wealth of Spirit” at… Continue reading