“Lord, you know everyone’s heart…” Acts 1:15-26 Hopefully over time, each of us has the privilege of learning a truer meaning of friendship. For certain, friends hold a special place in our hearts. I used to think that I chose my friends, but when I thought back over my life I realized that more often than not my friends chose me. People will come and go in our lives, some remain acquaintances. Others stay with us even during the times you are apart because with friends, memories are easy to rekindle, the present is unabashedly shared, and the future is encouragingly rejoiced. That’s a relationship in the spirit relishing the moments of those valuable times in our lives. Most gracious Immanuel, thank you, for your presence as marked by our true friendships of those you have already known, and in the way that you have already chosen us.
There is one plant in my home that has survived nearly ten years. When people come in to my home they are amazed that it stands nearly seven feet tall. However, it’s had its moments over the years becoming so large that we’ve had difficulty finding the right post, having to break away some leaves that were dying as well as cutting pieces away to replant and give away. We brought this plant home with us when my mother died and it comforts me to think that it is her spirit that nourishes the main stalk by which all the other stalks and leaves are being nourished. Of course regular attention to its needs are important. I have my husband to thank for that. Its prominent place in my living room reminds me of the true vine of Christ and the relationship we have with that truth. Any part of us that negatively affects that relationship is broken away and any part of us that flourishes deserves to be shared. As we continually nourish ourselves with the Word of God we are strengthened as we prominently take our place in God’s kingdom. When others see us standing tall ready and willing to be pruned, they wonder not knowing our full story and yet are amazed. If they ask, we have only simply to say “It’s the spirit of God that abides in me.”
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes* to make it bear more fruit…. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit… John 15:1-16