Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vine and Branches

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just 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. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:1-11 
This time of year, as spring is supposedly upon us, I ache to spend my time in the garden. Right now, it is too cold to plant anything let alone stay outdoors too long. Also, I am in Montana and not near my home garden. When I get there, I know I will find plants, that although they look dead, are truly not. They will flower and stretch very soon, sending out tendrils and branches. There is mint in my garden, that once as once small plant and now it is everywhere. With a good strong vine, strong roots, it withstands the worst weather imaginable.
Jesus explains the relationship of himself to God and the disciples by using images from real life. They all know what strong vines look like. They know that even when you chop a vine down it will return, often stronger than ever. They understood that the responsibilities of the vinegrower were to carefully watch the vines, cutting back limbs that were rotten, infected of not strong. The vinegrower would also encourage, strengthen and prop up the branches that were heavily laden. God is with all of us day and night, helping us to abundance and joy.
Today, I ask God to help me live an abundant and joyful life. May we stretch and grow, trusting that we are tenderly cared for. May we bring forth the fruits of faith as we love our neighbors as ourselves.

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