What does this imagery of the vine and the branches tell you about your relationship with Jesus?
April 30, 2015
In our home, my husband is the gardener. He is very intentional in the spring about trimming our shrubs, planting our garden pots and giving them the water and nourishment they need to flourish throughout the season. More than once I have lamented the extreme pruning of our lilacs or dogwoods. But as summer progresses they look so full and green and their shape is lovely.
Today we hear Jesus say “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” These words are so familiar sometimes we don’t make a connection between Christ’s words and our lives. Consider this example. This past winter another grandson, Alex, played basketball on a 3rd grade team. There were people with many different skill levels that made up the team. The coach’s son was a skilled player but not a team player.
Even more, he had a bit of a temper especially if the ref called a foul against him. As the season progressed the team pulled together and won some games. However, the coach’s son stayed outside of the group. Part of the reason was his choice but the other players did not see him as a team player and grew tired of the drama. The coach was encouraging to all and did his best to bring the team together. However, even for the coach, his son remained outside of the group effort during games and did not listen to the coach. The coach’s guidance helped to strengthen and shape the team.
This image of the vine and branches in today’s gospel shows just how important and intimate our connection with Jesus is! Just as branches cannot grow without the vine whose roots sustain them, we cannot grow in love and service of God without Christ sustaining us.
Sometimes that relationship hurts as we recognize and face our own selfishness and allow this to be ‘pruned away.’ Sometimes we may be amazed at something we accomplished that we never dreamed we could do.
What does this imagery of the vine and the branches tell you about your relationship with Jesus? What fruit can the Church as a global vine bear in the world?
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