All are Welcome!
“I am the vine..."
Reflection by Tim Hunt
John15:5 This verse is irresistible to a recovering English teacher: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
We can interpret that metaphor until the cows come home and still not be done. But falling back on my knowledge of biology (I am speaking ironically) let’s examine that imagery for a minute.
A vine offers to a branch what a large nation might offer to a smaller one. The vine provides defensive structure, for one thing. In cases of snow, high winds, and disease, the vine protects its branches which cannot do very well on their own. Secondly, the vine offers a system by which water and food can be transmitted from one part of the plant to another. The vine also connects branches to roots so that a plant can make food for its survival and oxygen for ours.
Each branch, in turn, grows leaves, aka powerhouses. In most plants, leaves are the site of food production because they know how to convert the energy in sunlight into chemical energy; chlorophyll then enables them to use that energy to turn water and carbon dioxide gas into sugar and oxygen. The process is remarkable and I don’t understand it fully but I grasp the general idea. The conclusion is much easier: the vine needs the branches and the branches need the vine, a mutually beneficial relationship. Interestingly, our race of human beings would not last long if some factor interrupted this world wide process.
We bear fruit, Jesus says, as long as we remain (some versions say abide) in Him and He in us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Obviously, the physical relationship between the vine and the branches cannot be altered without serious repercussions; so in talking about our abiding in Him, Jesus must be alluding to spiritual connections. Whether or not we have such a relationship--or how strong it will be--is up to us since John 15 says, “if you remain.”
I know that I am comfortable clinging to that vine. Can you see me over there between Chris (the Branch) Jessen and Paul (the Branch) Vilandre? Ah, no matter; when the wind blows a little bit you will be able to figure out which is which. Otherwise, we kind of hang together.