Seven people gathered on a bright but very cold morning at a private home in Risinghurst, Oxford for the Quiet Day entitled “pruned for fruitfulness”. This was the first of a series of Quiet Days on “I am the true vine” from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of John. As pruning of a vine takes place mostly in the winter months, the morning started with a reflection on the winter seasons of our lives and how we can use them for times of rest and refreshing, refocussing on what is important and preparing and being repaired for the work that God wants to do in and through us.
A pruning demonstration followed in the garden where a vine was growing over a pergola. Participants learnt why the branches of a vine had to be pruned back quite severely to just above the bud on the previous year’s growth and why it can only be safely done in the dormancy of winter. Some people cut off a few branches themselves and reflected on how God might be pruning them.
After a welcome hot drink, reflection and discussion continued on the definition of “fruit” and how might God prune our lives to help make them more fruitful and productive. This part of the morning included space to be creative using art materials or writing to engage with God in different ways and to explore and express the inner journey of the heart.
The morning finished with prayer and a simple bread and soup lunch. We are grateful to Jonathan and Sarah Beecher for allowing us to use their home for this Quiet Day.