4 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. 5 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.”
I want to keep it simple today. Above is a common passage of scripture that we have heard many times over. I am not offering some radical new truth about it. In fact, I am bringing more questions than answers. I encourage you to think about these things as you go throughout your week. Talk to God, talk to your family, talk to your pastor about them! Stop. Be Still. Spend time thinking about these questions as you walk throughout this week:
In what ways am I connected to the vine, to Christ? In what ways am I disconnected from the vine?
How is my life-bearing fruit? How are the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control, how are these showing up in my life? How are they not?
Are there habits in my life that I could change in order to be closer to the vine?
Are there areas in my life that I need God to prune so that I can be more fruitful?
How is my community abiding in Christ? How is my community apart from Christ? What fruit is my community producing?
Let’s Pray: Good and Gracious God, our vine, our source of all life, we are thankful that you give us all we need. We are thankful that you choose to work through us so that the fruit of your love might be shown in our lives. We are thankful for your Word and your Son who told us these things.
God, we confess today that it is not always easy to abide in you. We know that scripture well and it sounds easy enough, but many times we find ourselves in our habits or in other actions looking to be our own source of life. We confess that we do not always want to abide, we would rather try it on our own sometimes.
But we know, we re-affirm today, that you are the only source of life for us. We know that fruit is not possible without the vine and you are the vine. Help us. We pray a simple prayer for you to help us. Help us to re-arrange our lives so that we look to you first for our energy, for our life. Whatever that looks life for each of us, you know our hearts. Help us as we ask to become closer to you and then you prune us.
Help us when we squall and cry because you are cutting back the parts of our lives that aren’t life-giving. Sometimes we just want the easy things, but you know what we need so that your great love might be shown in and through us. Help us this week. Guide us. Be with us. As we bring our questions to you, let us know what your plan for our lives are, speak to us.
We ask that you give us your love, your fruit, this week so that we might share it with all we meet. Let you love and joy and peace beyond understanding be on us and in us so that your power is unmistakable to all we meet.
We ask all these things in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.