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
This right relationship, what Christ has been giving, living and expressing in his actions since God sent him to be with us; is simply this – that we love God and love one another as Christ has loved us. It is a relationship likened as to a good Shepherd to his sheep, a true vine that nourishes its branches, and friend who is a confidant. After he has given to his disciples all that his Father has made known to him, Jesus emphasis on this relationship of love culminates into his final discourse; what is known as the “High Priestly Prayer”, before he is taken out of this world. He does not pray for our perfection. He does not pray for our guilt and shame. He does not pray for our atonement. He prays for our sanctification. Jesus petitions God to sanctify (make holy) his disciples and those who come to believe through their word. From that moment on we who know God’s love, live God’s love among one another and make God’s love known through his son to all who will come to believe after us, become a holy nation made one in Christ. As we continue to live in fulfillment of the scripture, how incredibly blessed we are to be in this love relationship with the Father, Son and the advocate which he promised to send, his Holy Spirit, the one love relationship that I believe Judas could not receive, because he did not have faith.
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.