April 29

Reflection

I am the vine. You are the branches.
John 15:1-8

 In Judea, a vineyard was the symbol of a type of national identity. Often, in the Old Testament, Israel is pictured as the vine or the vineyard of God. In the eyes of its people, Israel was the true vine whose roots ran all the way back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus, a Jew, likened himself to a vine.  As branches of that vine, his disciples draw their strength from him. We are given our identity from him and need to cultivate a relationship with him. That is not simply for our own benefit. Bearing fruit means to offer a gift in unity and love. It is about carrying forward the mission of Jesus, the implementing of God’s reign.  We are to bear fruit because we are united to the life of Christ vitalizing us. Our fruit is the whole influence and witness of our lives.

Prayer

May we live out the mission of Jesus.

Action

What can I make of this analogy in terms of my daily life? Reflect on those in public or private life who loudly proclaim their Christian beliefs and yet reflect ideas far from the teachings of Jesus. What does it mean for me to be in God’s vineyard?

Suggested Reading

I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither.
John 15:1-8 

Jesus gave us the vine and branches illustration. Through this our eyes are opened to the secret of the universe: union ­ the mystery of the universe: how two can be one and yet remain two. The living God, the living Christ, and I actually become one person and function as one person. Separation is impossible. It has disappeared. We function entirely and forever and naturally as one person. And yet we remain two!
Norman Grubb, The Key to Everything

How can we know that what Jesus has shown us of God is the truth; or how do we know when we look into the face of Jesus that we are looking into the face of God? The answer is so plain and simple that it is a marvel how intelligent men can manage to miss it as they do. Look at what Christ has done for the soul of man: that is your answer. Christianity is just Christ – nothing more and nothing less. It is a way of life, and He is that way. It is the truth about human destiny, and He is that truth.
R. J. Campbell, The Call of Christ

To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an un-Christian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian, love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what-not: it was the work of love which was his life.
Soren Kierkegaard

Soft spirituality” is now commercializing everything from plainchant to rock anthems to Jesus. This sign of the times is more about shadow than substance. For the spiritual seeker, “soft spirituality” is a mirage, not an oasis. The springs may run with Evian water but there is no real nourishment here, just the illusion of refreshment. . . . That such a movement has co-opted the name of spirituality in our pop culture tells us just how hungry we are for the real thing, and how unfed we remain.
Eugene Kennedy

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.
Thomas Fuller

A great deal of what passes for current Christianity consists in denouncing other people’s vices and faults.
Henry H. Williams

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