Dispatch One Hundred Fifty-Two

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.

The true vine is a gardening metaphor that helps us better understand our relationship to the ultimate reality named Love. In the interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, the believer is a branch that abides in and grows out of Christ, “the true vine,” who is in turn rooted in the deep supply and source of Life, the divine ground (in John’s Gospel, “the Father”).

Just as the “true vine” draws its nutrient from the ground and metabolizes this nutrient into its own living structure and process, so each branch that grows from the main stem receives the material energy it needs from the true vine and further transforms it into leaves, fruit, and seeds. Just as Christ relies upon God, each believer depends upon Christ – and, notice, Christ (and God through Christ) depends also upon the believer for the produce that signals health and secures a reproductive future for the plant entire.

In other words, the Gospel writer sees God, Christ, and the authentic believer as together comprising a mystical and organic unity. Beneath everything as the ground of all being is God. Rooted in and growing out of this ground is Christ, who carries upward into embodiment the essential Love that God is. And branching forth from Christ are the believers, men and women just like you and me who further this Love-energy into the fruits of justice, compassion, and forgiveness.

How do we know that these virtues in particular are the genuine fruits of God-as-Love? One word: Jesus.


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