Sunday 29 April 2018

Bible Book:

“I am the vine, you are the branches.” (v. 5)

John 15:1-8 Sunday 29 April 2018

Psalm: Psalm 22:25-31


The strong image of abiding in God comes through both of today’s passages of Scripture and through the hymn Abide with me (Singing the Faith 141). Our abiding in God sustains us in our journeying and our connectedness to God enables us to keep going. God’s grace enables us to maintain hope in the face of whatever adversity we encounter.

John’s Gospel tells us that it is through Christ that we are connected to and abide in God, as branches are connected to the vine. The vine is an often-used image in the Scriptures. Within Jewish tradition, the vine was an image of Israel. Psalm 80 announces that God brought a vine out of Egypt and planted it in the Promised Land. Isaiah 5:1-7 tells that the vines of Israel had gone untended, have become wild and so are bearing poor fruit. In John’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself as the true vine, the true Israel, the chosen one. He is the one on whom God’s purposes are now resting. Those who follow him, who abide in the true vine, who are the branches of that vine, are made people of God’s true purposes through their connection with Christ.

My father loved his roses. He would patiently explain to me that if you did not prune them regularly, they would not give of their best. An untended rosebush would become straggly and branches would be all tangled. It would still produce roses, but they would be of poor quality. The rose bush needs help to grow in the right direction and bear good flowers. Good pruning enables good growth and good flowers. I am told that it is the same with vines.

So, here is a call to a discipleship which is exercised in connection to Jesus. The challenge, placed before the disciples and before us, is to remain connected to Christ, as the branches on the vine, and submit ourselves to the pruning of the vine-grower. Life and its challenges are how we are pruned, and the pruning is how the quality of our fruit is enhanced.

To Ponder

  • To what extent do you find your connection to Christ, expressed through your connection to the Church, helps you to live a more fruitful life? How?
  • How do we help each other to grow in the right direction? Whose responsibility is it to do the pruning?
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