Wednesday, January 5, 2011
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:1-16
I was always transfixed by the story of Jack and the beanstalk - seeds that transformed into huge climbing vines, strong and reaching to the sky. The endless climbing only to reach a huge house occupied by a veraciously hungry giant. And how a young and nimble, seemingly half-witted young man, provides abundantly for his struggling family in the end. Vines reaching to the sky, strong and flexible, this image is imprinted on my brain. Now I realize it is a metaphor for love, for, these strong and flexible vines, that withstand heat and cold, the turns and twists of fate and life and still throb with life and are the conduit for abundant living.
Jesus calls us the vines and the Father the vinedresser, the one who care s tenderly for the growing vines and wants strength and abundance for us all. That is the true desire of love and God is the source of true love, that our lives may be abundant with love and compassion, hearts open to those around us, our strength and faith increasing day by day. How incredible that God would call us friends and shower us with tender and constant affection, helping us grow strong and solid in love moment by moment.
Today I want to give thanks for all the vines in my life, who have held me tight when I was falling and who lifted me up to the sky when darkness was closing in. May we all rejoice for the strong vines of love in our lives today.