John 15: Learning to be a branch
As I was reflecting on this passage that I’ve read a thousand times, I asked God for a fresh understanding of what it meant to abide. I spend so much of my life working and worrying, striving and stressing, and very little time being still and listening. So as I attempted to practice this somewhat elusive abiding that scripture speaks of, I let these words seep deep into my restless soul. “I am the vine and you are the branches,” Jesus spoke (and John writes). “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
A few things I instantly noticed. First of all, Jesus isn’t against doing. He calls us to do a great many things, yet the source of our strength for the doing must come from abiding. As counter intuitive as it seems, our very first step in doing anything must not be a step at all: it must be abiding. Secondly, I took a moment to gaze out my living room window and noticed something about the trees. None of the branches seemed to be struggling to connect with their trunks, or vines, if you will. It is the most natural thing in the world for these branches to stay attached to their source of life and strength and nourishment. These branches acknowledge the blatantly obvious: to be severed from their roots would mean all growth would cease.
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