By Steve Krout
August 21, 2020
As I was harvesting muscadines the other night, I looked down the row and imagined Jesus also picking grapes alongside his disciples. They were, given the pandemic, six feet apart from each other. I could see him occasionally eating a grape and I wondered, as the sweet juice of muscadines filled his mouth, if he recalled the wedding celebration where he turned water into wine. And, after I watched him spit the bitter seeds on the ground, I clearly heard him begin to teach: “I am the vine.”
There are few things I find more meditative than laboring in the vineyard. I love pruning and harvesting and, of course, eating muscadines and scuppernongs. I feel a strong connection to the land, to those that came before us, and to the God who blesses us with a harvest. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, gave these words of wisdom: “Never quit praying.” We are to let every part of our lives become a prayer. In the vineyard, every pluck of a grape feels like a prayer—a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer for the health and wellbeing of those that will consume the fruit, a prayer for more laborers to join us. Every story shared among harvesters, every butterfly dancing through the sky, and every little frog jumping from leaf to leaf is evidence of God’s presence in this sacred space.
In A Way of Prayer, fellow Koinonia member Bren Dubay wrote of our morning chapel service, “Out of reverence we show up each morning and listen. Intentionally carving out this little bit of time in our day to say, ‘Here I am, Lord. Here we are, Lord. Your servants are listening.’” The spirit of reverence and listening, we pray, will continue throughout the day wherever we are and with whatever we are doing so that we may see and hear Christ among us in the chapel, in the vineyard, and everywhere.
The purpose of The Cotton Patch Gospel, Clarence Jordan’s translation of the scriptures, was to “put Jesus and his people in the midst of the modern world, living where we live, talking as we talk, working, hurting, praying, bleeding, dying, conquering, alongside the rest of us.” Clarence’s vision is alive and well at Koinonia in 2020. We may not be translating the scriptures into the modern vernacular but we are keeping our eyes and ears open for Jesus as we bake cakes, visit prisons, and harvest muscadines.