In the gospel of John Jesus says, “I am the grapevine (or even vineyard), and my father is Ό ΓΕΩΡΓΟΣ - the farmer, the gardener, orchard keeper, simply anyone cultivating the soil.
It was and remains a powerful and highly charged metaphor.
In the biblical tradition Creator God was the planter of the garden of Eden, and thus the Gardener of the world. The grapevine was the national tree of the Jewish people. It even overlapped with the idea of the tree of life. And the vineyard, vineyard of the LORD, was a poetic way to speak about the biblical homeland, the Promised Land and its people.
Whenever you hear in the Bible about a grapevine, vineyard, gardener or vineyard-planter or keeper think first about the divine prerogative over the land, what we would call these days politics and even social justice. And secondly but with the selfsame though, think about the creation, the divine garden, nowadays we call it ecology, environmentalism.
If you were a Roman soldier or administrator listening in to Jesus and his contemporaries - it might sound like farmers discussing agriculture - but anyone who grew up in biblical tradition knew they were discussing so much more! Fairness, justice, divine hope and divine plan for them and for the rest of the world. And that will be our theme this Sunday.