I wish I could record a story absent of pain, but like most tribes throughout history, we do not lack our own measure of grief.
I was only a boy when the Gardener came to our village and entrusted us with his vine. I remember the day well because my lips were blistered from the desert sun. My mother told me they would heal, but even a brief time of suffering takes its toll.
The Gardener gathered all us children around, pretending to talk only to us, but loud enough that the parents knew the message was really theirs: “As long as the community thrives, so will the vine.” This was the promise of the Gardener, and we assured him that nothing would befall his plant.
With tender hands he selected a plot of earth with rich soil and plenty of room where its roots to expand. He wished us well, reminding us once more that a healthy village meant a healthy vine.
As promised, the vine did thrive. Its roots tunneled deep into the earth, spreading underneath us like strong tentacles. Its stalk grew tall, with branches that climbed to the sun. Its grapes were purple-red glory.
The years passed, and the vine grew so that it towered above the hills. An infinite canopy, it brought shade to weary days, shelter during the rain. Neighboring villagers came for a glimpse of its majesty.
As they do in all villages, seasons come and retreat. Years passed since the Gardener’s visit, and I’m sure you can anticipate what I’m about to say. Our people eventually became oblivious to the gift of the vine. We forgot what it meant to lack shade. Wealthy from the fruit of the vine, we no longer watched out for one other. In time we forgot to love.
One afternoon in the heart of the marketplace, a dispute arose among two of our families. Some disagreement about one of the sons not being good enough to marry the other’s daughter, and before anyone realized what was happening, blood seeped into the soil. It did not take long for the roots to taste death, and so began the demise of our precious vine.
That was one month ago. In that small fraction of time, the vine has withered to what can barely be considered a plant. There are no more grapes for our livelihood, there is no shade from the heat. We are dismayed.
I’ve already written to the Gardener, telling him of our tragedy. If anyone can resurrect the vine, it is him.
Mother cries each night, father is angry most days. Each morning I hike to the top of the hill and wait. I look for the Gardener and choose to believe he will come.
Thou broughtest a vine out of Egypt: Thou didst drive out the nations, and plantedst it. Thou preparedst room before it, and it took deep root, and filled the land. The mountains were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like cedars of God. It sent out its branches unto the sea, and its shoots unto the River. Why hast thou broken down its walls, so that all they that pass by the way do pluck it? The boar out of the wood doth ravage it, and the wild beasts of the field feed on it. Turn again, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: Look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine, and the stock which thy right hand planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. Psalm 80: 8-15 (ASV)
Question to Ponder: Where do you need reviving? Pray Psalm 80 as a lament for God’s restorative work.
Song Recommendation: Dust We Are and Shall Return by The Brilliance
-Read Previous Sunday Psalms from Season Two: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5,Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, Episode 11, Episode 12, Episode 13, Episode 14, Episode 15, Episode 16, Episode 17, Episode 18, Episode 19, Episode 20, Episode 21, Episode 22, Episode 23, Episode 24, Episode 25, Episode 26, Episode 27, Episode 28, Episode 29, Episode 30
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Written by Heidi Beth Sadler, Inspired by Psalm 80. Copyright © 2017 Benjamin & Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved.