In the Vineyard of the Lord
September 6, 2010 § 2 Comments
I once wrote a story for a patient called The Garden. It was really a story about therapy – about doing therapy. About wanting each person to grow according to their inner heart. But now it strikes me that the Priesthood of our Baptism is like that too. That we are planted in the Vineyard. With no uniform blueprint for growth. (…though many long for it…) But that our God is like the Gardener in my story. Trying to help each of us – individually, uniquely – to recover from woes and sins we have either endured or inflicted. That the Garden or the Vineyard, the Kingdom of God, is a place of healing, a place to find the Compassion of God and the Heart of our (Be)longing.
Like the words of St. John Chrysostom, which so struck me when I first read them at my new parish. Which, indeed, called to me and taught me of Orthodoxy:
Enter into the church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed again to enter the church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent.
Hospital. And that makes me think of Hospitality. Which makes me think of the Rublev Icon of the Trinity. Of Abraham offering hospitality. Of God’s love being so great he created a world and progressively revealed The Divine Life animating all that is and has been and will be. And in this Hospital – this place of healing and mutual service – we are invited to become not just co-workers grafted into Christ but Partakers of Divine Life itself.
Like the Parable of the Vine and the Branches in John’s Gospel. As in the Foot Washing. And so much else that Jesus did or said. That we are planted in this Vineyard not only to heal and to grow but to do the same for one another – and for all creation – as the Divine Gardener is doing for us and with us – in Christ – through the Working of the Holy Spirit.
It really blows my mind every time I think of how God‘s care is for each of us. Not for some mass conformity. But one by one. Down to the last speck of dust!
Oh, yes, I well realize there may be the skeptics and the scoffers out there. But any of us who has been seized by the Presence of God, has been tossed around or turned inside out or simply blessed with a certainty of God’s Presence and Care, so that afterward we have never been the same, we know this. At times that knowledge may give us a sense of awe and holy fear. Humility. Deep contrition and sorrow. Compassionate Suffering. Hope! Joy! Bursting Love! And Gratitude!
So much so that we may need to record such moments and ponder their meaning – over and over. And to consider where’s it all leading….