Pruned & Sabbath
Normally we visit France in the summer when the vines are sprouting new, supple branches and leafing out fully. In late May we see the early, green bud clusters that grow and differentiate over the hot summer, turning blue then purple for fall harvest.
But here's how it starts, during the cold winter months. The vine is brutally pruned back to almost a stump. This is not a unique vineyard. They all look like this. Row upon row of brown, nasty stumps. Looking at them this afternoon did not give me much hope. Nothing is happeing. It's all brown and ragged looking.
But you know the story. Only pruned vines produce lush harvests. Otherwise the untended vines produce more grapes, but they are small, sour and bitter...useless! The vinedresser knows how much to prune back the vine so it can rest during the cold, wet and quiet season of Fall and Winter. It looks on the outside like a waste of time, but something is happening inside (and here is where my viticulture understanding runs short) that will make it ready to produce in the Spring, Summer and Fall.
Sabbath rest is a kind of pruning back. It's doing nothing on the outside, and attending to the mystery inside. It's letting God make you stop all the things you so need to get done (vines) and being still.