Remain in Me
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:4-5
I’ve been busy pulling weeds and trimming plants in my yard lately. It is very satisfying to watch the unwanted weeds shrivel up and die in the sun. When I think about spiritual pruning and weeding, it’s much more painful to consider. Some of those bad habits of gossip, or anger which need to be pruned away, give me some measure of satisfaction and self-righteous indignation. Neither of these are healthy for me, emotionally, spiritual or physically. It is only in bringing my hurts and my heart to Jesus that I am able to prune away those unfruitful pieces of my mind and spirit.
Jesus reminded the disciples that he was the vine and we are the branches. Unless we stay connected to the vine, we will shrivel up and die. We cannot bear fruit when we aren’t connected to the vine. Some plants need to be pruned in order to really thrive. Unless you are pruned, all you grow is leaves, and never fruit. The plant might look healthy and strong, but there is nothing beneficial growing there. It’s all just for show! How many times have I looked very productive with lots of leaves thriving, but not had any actual fruit to share? Those unnecessary activities and busy work might need to be pruned away in order to make space and energy for fruit to develop.
Staying connected is essential to health and survival! Staying connected is essential to bearing fruit. If you are feeling disconnected from the vine today, I encourage you to spend some time in prayer. Where is God calling you to prune something unnecessary out of your life? Where is God wanting to feed and nourish your spirit, but you haven’t sat still long enough to let God be God? “Be still, and know that I am God.” When was the last time you really entered into worship in spirit and in truth in order to be fed and connected?
This Sunday in worship we celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. I encourage you to come in person if you are able. There is something precious about being together in the house of God. There is a special connection to the vine that occurs when we sing and pray together. If you are unable to attend in person for whatever reason, please know that we are working very hard to provide an excellent opportunity for you to stay connected to the vine in our online worship.
God of mercy, we confess that we have not borne the fruit of the Spirit. We have not loved others as you have loved us. We have denied the promises of baptism and cut ourselves off from you. Forgive us and restore us, that we may abide in your love and live out your mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.