The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope
Today’s Gospel: John 15:1,6-16
No one who knows me well would characterize me as a gardener despite the fact that I genuinely love gardens and am reminded of God’s beautiful creation when I am outdoors enjoying them. Sadly, I have been known to have seemingly indestructible plants expire under my care. It has always been an irony to me, therefore, that the 15th chapter of John with the vivid imagery and metaphor of the vine, the vinegrower, and the branches is one of my favorites.
“I am the true vine…” is the last of the ”I am” statements in the gospel of John. It comes as part of Jesus’ farewell discourse to the disciples. During the last supper, Jesus tells the disciples the things he wants them to remember when he is no longer physically in their midst. Jesus tells the disciples that if they abide in him they will bear much fruit. In essence, he is assuring them of the future of the community they have established and will nurture after he is no longer with them. At the core of this community is love. God’s love for Jesus is mirrored in the love that Jesus has for his disciples. Jesus commands his disciples to love one another as he has loved them. That love and “abiding” will equip them to bear fruit that will endure.
That same love and abiding are the Christian core that nurtures us and calls us forth to bear fruit in our day and in our time. During this season of Lent, take time to visit a favorite garden and reflect on the metaphor of the vine, vinegrower and branches. Remember that Jesus “has chosen us and appointed us to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…”
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer)