Dispatch One Hundred Fifty-Three

Posted: April 29, 2015 in Thirty-Fifth Bundle
Tags: , , ,

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.

A branch that does not abide in the vine cannot bear fruit and will wither for lack of nutrient energy. Apart from me you can do nothing, Christ tells his disciples. Clearly we have moved beyond the mere flesh-and-blood Jesus into the expansive reality of the mystical and post-Easter Christ. In order to draw together the distinct strands of our previous reflections, we might see it the following way.

As we develop and mature into our fully self-conscious ego, we undergo a series of “falls” away from conditions that had earlier determined our sense of reality. First the womb, then mother herself, then the body and its urges, followed by further events of negotiated control, over our impulses, our relationships, and our beliefs. All the while, something good and important is happening: we are moving into what will hopefully become a self-standing, unique and responsible human being.

But as we know, this process also carries within it a subtle amount of anxiety, which, if left alone or suppressed, only fuses and intensifies over time, making the later stages of letting go more difficult and fearful. The Bible’s appraisal is that each and every one of us is possessed by fear and therefore to some degree unwilling to leap into grace with the kind of abandon that deep communion with God requires.

What we must do is die to the old self (the fearful and guarded ego), as the Ethiopian eunuch did; “remember and turn to the Lord,” as the psalmist hoped the nations would do; let go of our dogmatic notions about God and plunge into an authentic experience of God instead (1 John 4); get connected to the true vine (John 15) who is Christ in us and in all things – the very Love of God made flesh and fruit in our next word and deed.

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