Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am now in the season of Lent and I've been thinking of the importance of pruning grapevines and other plants as analogous actions to the spiritual disciplines of this time in the Christian year.  Pruning a grapevine serves the purpose of concentrating and channeling energy for particular growth--to direct the energy into the growth of grapes in the summer and making the vine fruitful for harvest in the fall.  Similarly Lent can be seen as a time reserved for pruning our lives of all the stuff that diffuses our energy and makes us less concentrated on living into our core spiritual and ethical values and primary relationship with the divine.  A season dedicated to looking at where we expend energy in fruitless compulsions and distractions and letting go (with prayer and the grace of God, and sometimes with the help of others) of those actions and habits that stunt our lives is well worth practicing.  Sadly, popular religion can trivialize the potential for this season...turning it into a time of giving up candy or chocolates rather than looking at the greater issues of where we really get hooked and diminished!  What drains me of my vitality and power in living?  What keeps me from being at peace?  Where do I feel blocked or constricted in my relationships?  How do I participate in structures and systems that thwart or constrict or oppress others unjustly?  These are not easy or comfortable questions, but they have a better chance of  leading us to insights about what really needs to be pruned away and what preparation is truly necessary for healthy, vital, fruitful living and new growth that benefits not only ourselves but all those with whom we share a connection. 


Cindy Ivy said...

Linking your post on "weather systems" and "prunings" brings me to Spring, where the winter "weather systems" have apparently, but not definitely killed by favorite bottle brush and persimmon trees. Now how do I work that into a spiritual metaphor? I hate to prune the trees, while believing they are really dead, while hoping they are still alive. This seems to often describe the tension within me when discussing faith.

Daniel said...

I think that spiritual life has to do with living into those tensions, as you are doing. All things have an end and will eventually die. Yet that which we love we hope will continue. When is it time to let go and entrust the Mystery that is the source of all life, and when is it ours to do something to try to help that which we care about live and flourish?

I'm sorry that your favorite trees are threatened, Cindy.