It’s time for us to “Come Alive” again this weekend as a Christian community as we gather again in the sanctuary or on-line to worship the Risen Savior. We surely hope that you are able to join us one way or another!
Our Scripture this week is the first portion of John 15, which draws from vineyard imagery to emphasize our connectedness to Christ and thus to God. Highlighting the specific metaphors that Jesus emphasizes, we will explore three aspects of what it means to:
a) abide in Him;
b) get pruned!;and
c) bear fruit.
I don’t know about you, but now that the weather has turned for the better, I seem eager to do anything but “abide!” After a year of pandemic, I’ve remained in place long enough and I’m anxious to get out and move if I am anything! I am so longing to be able to get to “bear fruit” that has been missing from our lives during this chapter of limited socializing that I’m not wanting to wait another second. Perhaps you can relate!
But as the gospel reminds us, there is another side to this understandable yearning. We can certainly resume our past busy-ness or frantically be about accomplishing all of the things we felt were put on hold without first tending to the primary connection we have. And that is with Christ. We can be so giddy about seeing people we’ve missed and resuming long-lost rhythms of life that we forget that it is Christ’s fruit we bear, not our own. It is our rootedness in His grace that is the source of our ability to grow and produce and harvest - not our own acumen in any of those regards!
Jesus’ example here reminds me of his words elsewhere in this Gospel that emphasize the “connected-ness” of the Trinity. He speaks of His abiding “in” the Father - in other words, not being someone who acts on His own, but only on behalf of His father. The Holy Spirit He promises to send will not be an independent agent or expression, but one firmly anchored to it’s connection with Him.
So it is with us! I suggest that, before we “get busy” with taking advantage of the season before us, we first find ways that our “abiding” in Jesus can be cultivated, nurtured, and assured. That way, it will be the fruit of Christ’s kingdom that we bear and not simply our own.
Don’t forget to pre-register for worship at 8:30 or 9:45 a.m. so that we can best honor our limited capacity in this time, yet practice ample hospitality! Remember that we are very much in need of hands raised and ready to serve in a variety of capacities in order to make our worship and our mutual “fruit-bearing” possible. Make your willingness to serve known! Meanwhile, a few element of Sunday’s worship will be available on demand as usual. The full service will be available on Facebook as well. Hang in there while we iron out the obstacles!
See you in worship!