Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grafted Into the Branch

 Romans 11:11-24
“Grafting” is a term most commonly used by a horticulturist, whereby cuttings are taken from the branch of one tree, vine, or flower and surgically attached to the branch of another.  The result can be a culmination of interesting varieties of fruit, leaves, and flowers, all growing form a single trunk.  The practice is widely used among farmers to produce better, more flavorful fruit, or larger, more fragrant flowers, especially roses.

Although I have never attempted to graft a grape vine or a rose branch from one to another, my past gardens have produced some interesting results, either from cross-pollination or some other mystery I can not explain.  One year, long ago, I planted cucumbers and melons next to each other.  As some of the cucumbers flowered and grew, the fruit began to take on the shape of the melon, growing large and round.  They maintained the knobby green appearance of the cucumber and its flavor, but adopted the size and shape of the melon. 

I am now unable to grow a full garden in our harsh mountain climate and short summers, but  I still have the desire to try.  Individual containers have now replaced a garden plot and each year, along with pots of flowers, I fill one with some type of garden plant.  This year, I decided to have a pot with herbs.  Two varieties of basil, a couple of dill weed, and a single curly parsley adorned a pot with hopes of cuttings to dry and store for the winter.

With the exception of one Thai basil plant that was unable to endure a late frost, the remaining plants have not failed me.  A small jar is slowly being filled with dried dill weed carefully cut from the stalks.  Something interesting is happening, though.  As I trim the upper small branches from one of the dill, the nutrients are forced back to the root and the lower branches, causing it to bush out and force new growth at the top.  This does not surprise me.  What does cause intriguing wonder is that the new branches growing from the main stalk look, smell, and taste like the curly parsley growing next door.  I know there is an explanation for what is happening - probably because they are planted too tightly together - but I am a little disappointed that my jar of dried dill will not be as full as I had hoped.  My dill plant is slowly, but surely, transforming into a curly parsley, leaving only the stalk as evidence of what it was before.

The term “grafting” is not exclusive to farming practices.  There is another meaning behind it that is rarely considered, but should be common knowledge among Christians.  At one point in time, God chose a specific vine in order that He could cultivate a perfect vineyard.  However, it grew wild, disobeying the order God had established for it.  It cross-pollinated with other branches not of its kind, took on the form of neighboring vines, and produced tasteless fruit not pleasing to His palate.  The vine stretched far from its main Root, where its strength could be drawn to sustain its life.  And it began to die.

God was not unaware of what was occurring.  His eye remained vigilant and, like a vineyard owner who desires to preserve old stock that produces fine wines, God began to cut the unproductive, wild branches from His vines and graft them back into the supporting Root.  As He did so, He also began grafting in wild olive shoots to draw “nourishing sap” from the Main Vine.  There was never any fear of failure in God’s planned vineyard.  He knew that there would always be a Branch from which the best vines would grow, and from which the best fruit would be harvested.

Because He is the Master Gardener, God knows which vine will produce the best fruit, the fruit that will last.  By faithfully re-grafting the wild, unruly vine back into its beginning Source, there is assurance the old stock and its grafted vines will never die.  Unlike my bewildering dill plant and its transformation into what it was not created to be, the vine will return to the perfection for which it was intended.

The best part remains to be discovered as God harvests the fruit and produces the wine.   It will look, smell, and taste of perfection.  As we drink from the cup  of the vine that He has poured for us, there will be none sweeter on our lips.

Suggested reading:

  • Isaiah 4:2; 5:1-6; 11:1-3; 27:2-3
  • Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15
  • John 15:1-17

1 comment:

joven said...

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