I watch the vine outside my window—the green leaves in spring look soft and gentle—and yet the vine is tenacious. It has been there all winter, readying itself for a new season.
Often we desire to express our independence, but the truth is we cannot produce fruit away from the vine. Jesus even reminds us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” A life spirit flows through the vine. There is a connectedness between abiding in Christ and bearing fruit. There is a connectedness between our becoming disciples and bearing fruit and glorifying God. Our interwovenness and interconnectedness make us one: vine, fruit, Christ, us.
But we can miss the connection and the fruit born of that connection. Two friends were talking about an event that took place five or six years before. One said to the other, “You know, I’ve always remembered that on that particular day you took the time to listen to me—not just politely but really listened to me. Your listening saw me through a number of rough years. I always meant to say thank you and never did.”
When we act in love, we bear fruit and sometimes do not know it. The passage closes with these words: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” Once again time interweaves: now, then, today, tomorrow, first, last. It’s not a matter of first bearing fruit and then being a disciple. It takes time and many acts of love to “become.” And always it glorifies the Father.
God of love, help me stay connected to you and bear fruit daily. Amen.
Two primary themes emerge from our readings for this week. In Psalm 22, we find the promise that even faraway nations will turn and worship the Lord. The book of Acts provides partial fulfillment of this promise. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, a court official from distant Ethiopia hears the gospel and can take it home to his native land. The Johannine readings focus on the theme of abiding (remaining) in God. “God is love,” the epistle states, so all who claim to abide in God manifest love to the world. The author pushes the point: If we maintain animosity toward others, we cannot claim to remain in the love of God. In John, Jesus states that we must remain in him if we want to bear good fruit for God.
• Read Acts 8:26-40. What boundaries do you draw? How would God view such boundaries given what you know of God?
• Read Psalm 22:25-31. How will you create a daily remembering of God? How will you tell the story?
• Read 1 John 4:7-21. How do you comb out the tangles in your life—in relationships, in your work setting?
• Read John 15:1-8. How secure do you feel about being attached to the vine? What has God done in your life to make it more productive?
Responda publicando una oración.