Blest be the ties

I’m currently carrying several hundred green twisty ties in my glovebox of my car, ready for the next time I’ll be out at the vineyard to continue training the grapevines. These ties, the kind used on bread bags, and plastic bags of perishables, are a lovely symbol of our interconnectedness as people who care for one another. In the vineyard, after pruning, the next step is to train the fruiting canes along the horizontal wire trellis, hoping to fill the trellis with these fruiting canes. In most places across the vineyard, the fruiting canes overlap, and thus are tied together by these green twisty ties, with about 2-3 inches of overlap. The rest of the fruiting cane is pruned off below the bud closest to the tie, which us usually about an inch or two. After the fruiting canes are wrapped around the wire trellis, pruned and tied, the new growth on the vine pushes up along the fruiting canes, and each bud explodes with new rising life. Consider with me the writings of St. Paul in Ephesians: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” We each have our work to do, but we seek to do this work in harmony with others, joining our lives by such green ties of faith, hope and love, overlapping our lives just enough for the tie to take hold, that “every supporting” connection between us will grow and build our lives up in love, as we continue to remain in the Vine, drawing life and love from Christ. The old hymn, written in 1782 by John Fawcett, tells this same story:

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.