Originally scheduled for December 10
In the middle of the twentieth century the vineyards of Europe
faced a grave problem. The vines were gradually succumbing to
a vicious infection which rotted away the roots of the vine.
No known cure existed. Various remedies were tried, but only
one method really worked.
This method was particularly galling to
the pride of the French. It seems that the American grape vine
was immune to this disease. The only solution was to import
root systems from America and graft the existing vines onto these
roots. As Prohibition had just begun, there were plenty of root
stocks available. there was nothing else to be done—if there
was to be a continuation of the wine industry. Soon the French and
others were industriously fighting the rootstock, slitting the tops
and putting the old vines in. Tied with twine to make it permanent,
this married the vine with the rootstock.
Our Lord was
particularly fond of wine, at least as an example for his parables.
This is probably due to the fact that everyone in that time knew how
to grow grapes and make wine. Paul himself use of the process of
grafting into a specific example, concerning the church (Romans
11:21-24). The most commonly quoted use of this process comes from
our Lord himself:
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch
cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither
can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the
branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for
apart from Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me,
he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them,
and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
When you become a Christian, you join the church, the
body of Christ on earth. He is the basic vine, you are the branch,
and he expresses his “vine-ness” through the church. You go from a
society that denies Christ into an organization that is his living
hope for us. He tells us that we will bear fruit if we remain in the
vine; and you will soon discover that fruitful Christians are those
who are in the church to live in Christ.
Communion is an
essential part of remaining in the vine. In a symbolic way, you take
into your body the body and blood of Jesus Christ. How do you do
· First, you make
sure the graft stays clean and strong. This is done by
self-examination and submitting yourself repentingly to your Lord.
· Next, you take in the
bread of Christ. It is the simplest of meals and the most basic of
The cup represents his blood, shed for you so that you might be
forgiven of your sins. All who have a contrite heart can approach
look forward to the day when he returns to judge the living and the
dead. All those who trust in him will be clothed in a new body. In
the meanwhile, continue to take in the body and blood of Christ.
Milk is for infants; this is the food of a grown man.