Date: April 29, 2018
Our reading this week from the gospel of John is an image of a vine and its branches. This is an image to challenge that early community and ours today, to claim our close relationship with Jesus. In Jesus' time people would have been familiar with the vine metaphor because it is one that appears several times in the Hebrew Scriptures to describe Israel. But even if contemporary Christians have never tended a vineyard most of us have seen a grapevine at one time or another. Looking closely we see the many entwined branches winding their way around one another in intricate patterns of tight curls that make it impossible to tell where one branch starts or another one ends. This is not just intricate; it's intimate, and the vine shares with its branches the nutrients that sustain it, the life force of the whole plant. This vine is one with the branches.
Our value is in being a part of the vine that is the body of Christ. Be honest. We all long for a sense of belonging, a place. To be a part of the church becomes the place where we can be rooted, where we can feel a part. Joined together by our shared love for him, challenged together to bear fruit for that love in the world, we are connected together in and through him.