Aiming,though often failing 'to become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some'. Join with me in these reflections,discussions, videos and even humour about how we might become truly authentic in mission:Contextual yet Biblical:Passionate, but also Compassionate:In Word, as well as in Deed.The Spirit of Jesus within is calling each of his followers to reach out and fulfil the Missio Dei in a world of pain and need.
Sunday, 21 December 2014
'The True Vine' (1) in John 15
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. What amazing words of the Master we read here: 'I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser'. We know the love of Christ towards us ( 'the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me', says Paul). We are each a branch and he is the vine to which we must be joined! Is that not glorious news? Can we trust him to be the life from which must draw? Of course, we can trust him perfectly. Can we trust the Father to be the vinedresser, or gardener? Again, His love towards us is so great that he sent his son to save us! Can we trust him to prune the branch of which we are? Yes, we can. We need not be frightened of the gardener's knife because our heavenly Father is the gardener. Though sometimes painful, it is for our good so that we can produce more and better quality fruit.If you are reading this and desire to be a fruitful Christian, do not fear that you as a branch have been discarded by the divine gardener and are ready to be burned. If you were such, you would not be wanting to do the Master's will or reading his words! How does he prune? Sometimes he does this through our circumstances and relationships, but often through reading and obeying his word.In the natural world the seasons regularly take their toll on the plant, sometimes causing it to suffer damage, but at other times it may cause it to become stronger. In verse 4 we have even more wonderful words, perhaps some of the most precious in the Bible: 'Abide in Me, and I in you.' This is an invitation from our Lord to intimacy. Not only are we invited to to live, dwell, abide in him, but also he wants to live within us.There may be other verses which are equal in benefit and blessing to us humans, but certainly none greater. We could do no better than to meditate on these words until they go deep down into our soul. Paul's prayer for the Ephesian Christians was that Christ should dwell in their hearts through faith, as well as being 'rooted and grounded in love.' To know Christ within would chase all feelings of inferiority and lack of self worth-in fact may well make us see ourselves like the old Cornish Tin miner, turned preacher, Billy Bray who called himself 'the king's son'- and so he was.
'As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me'.Here we see the only way we can bear fruit, It is to abide in the vine and draw the sap and life of his Spirit into our lives, or as we read for the communion service in the book of common prayer : 'and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.' We should say to the Lord each day 'I am feeding on you, the heavenly manna, I am helpless without the nourishment that comes from the true vine of God'.