Monday, September 29, 2008


The word "vintage" has more than one meaning.
Here is how the Oxford dictionary defines it:
  1. adj. Referring to something from the past of high quality (i.e. vintage cars, vintage clothes, Vintage Jesus, etc...)
  2. n. The harvesting of grapes for winemaking

There are two times of the year which I really love in Eger. One of them is spring time, when after winter's greyness the hills turn bright green and people are working in the vineyards, trimming and tying the vines to prepare them. One of the things I love most is mountain biking through the vineyards in the spring.
The other time of the year which I love in Eger is the "szüret" or vintage. The vines turn the hills red and gold, and around town there are containers full of the grapes that have been picked.

Here in Eger, the szüret is a big deal. Its been going on for about 3 weeks now. One of the interesting things about pastoring a church in a wine region, is that during the grape harvest our attendance goes down because people go to work in the vineyards on the weekend to make a little extra cash.

We were out in the Szépasszonyvölgy this weekend - the "Valley of Beautiful Women" (or as our friend Geof calls it: "The Valley of 10,000 Virgins"), and took some pictures of the vintage.

Speaking of vineyards, Jesus said this: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." (John 15:1-3)
Just like how in the spring, the workers in the fields trim and clean the vines so they will be maximally fruitful, we are told that God prunes us and cleans us, so that we will be maximally fruitful. He removes the dead parts out of our lives, which do nothing but burden us. Its not always enjoyable to be "pruned," but the result is worth it - fruitfulness.
If you've ever tried to figure out what exactly "fruitfulness" means, you've probably found that the Bible defines it as many different things: Agapé love (the fruit of the Spirit), good works, leading others to salvation in Jesus, and I'm sure there are others.

Jesus also said this about the vine and the branches:
"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. (John 15:4-6)
The thing I find interesting about this, is that here in Eger, you see this happen this time of year. At vintage time, they bring the grapes in these big containers, and then pitchfork them into this machine which sucks out the juice from the grapes, and spits out the seeds and the branches. And after the harvest, there are big piles of these dead branches in front of the wine cellars, and they usually stink! And of course, the way they get rid of them is to make a pile, and set the pile on fire - just like Jesus said - because they are no longer attached to the vine, and they have no fruit on them.

I don't know about you, but I want to abide in the true vine and be fruitful, because as Jesus says at the end of that section on the vine: "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." (John 15:8)

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