Since the day of resurrection, the message for us during this Easter season is squarely on relationship, God’s relationship with us and our relationship with one another. At the heart of that relationship is love and sometimes we have to encourage our selves in God’s love for us. He has already cleansed us with the power of his word. As we speak his words of truth for others we speak them for ourselves and know that that we will overcome the struggles and that the victory is always in the power of God’s eternal relationship with us. Thus our reward of eternal life is in our relationship with God; the goal that has no end.
Jesus says to his disciples and to us, “I am the true vine.” (And) He uses the word true to help us understand that he is the deeply rooted faithful and steadfast love of God from which all other love is to be connected. In the midst of so many other things that want to take root in our lives, as long as we have this relationship with God, even in the struggles we can be assured that he has not broken us off, but rather we must live in that eternal relationship and remain the branch that reaches out and bears fruit so that others might have that life also.
If in fact eternal life is our goal it seems to me that we must first understand what eternal life really means for us. Based on what I have come to understand about those individuals whom we’ve read about (Abraham, Moses, and the prophets etc.), all had direct relationship with God, I recognize and believe that eternal life for us today is synonymous with eternal relationship with Christ. The cleansing words of Christ in John’s gospel make it very clear, “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. 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.” The purpose of this is to leave little room for anything else to take root in our lives that might influence us away from God. By definition, to abide is to continue or remain in a particular condition. Thus to abide in Christ is to remain in relationship with him in order that we may bring forth the fruit that is God’s love. Every relationship is potentially a branch to God’s love. As long as we abide in God’s love, we as believers strive to continue in this world as Christ is in this world. If we lose connection with the vine then every branch (relationship) we have, potentially loses connection through us. The life of the vine is what gives us hope. Stay connected to the vine!