John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Throughout the past several weeks, I have had time to open boxes and pull books off shelves that had been sitting comfortably in my home for far too long. My father had a consistent habit of making notes in the margins of these books and Bibles he possessed. As I have had the opportunity to once again open some of these precious books, I focused on reading the notes in the margins and gleaning from the quotes and short stories tucked between the pages or written on cards and pieces of paper. I am appreciative of the books he possessed during his life that I hold dear today. But more importantly, I hold dear the relationship we shared. While reading the passage in John for today, we are all challenged to hear the words, but I hope through the Spirit you are also seeing the notes in the margins challenging our relationship with Christ. In reading this passage, I am reminded that we are called to more than rituals and ceremonies if real transformational change in our lives and works of justice is to take place in the world. My relationship with my father is still touching my life. On one of the cards that was tucked neatly away I read the words, “religion should be a power in our daily lives. But many carry it as a church carries its bells – High up in a tower to ring out on holy days, to strike for funerals, or to chime for weddings. All the rest of the time it hangs above our daily affairs – silent, voiceless, dead”. My relationship with Christ is transforming my life and in this needed moment we cannot be voiceless, silent or sitting on the sidelines. We are called to bear fruit.

Thou my everlasting portion, More than friend or life to me, All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee. Close to Thee, close to Thee, Close to Thee, close to Thee; All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee. Not for ease or worldly pleasure, Nor for fame my prayer shall be; Gladly will I toil and suffer, Only let me walk with Thee.

“Close To Thee” Frances J. Crosby