6th SUNDAY OF EASTER: JOHN 15:1-17

Hello Dear Ones. Well, I’m a little behind this month but finally my May blog is done. Life is a little crazy. Packing and preparing to move house will do that to you! I hope this month’s story is helpful. I loved digging deep into the characters of the The Vine and The Branches and especially The Vine Grower. Remember this is God’s story and what a story it is. WJ.

1. Read

John 15:1-17 (NRSV)

Jesus the True Vine

15 “I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vine-grower.

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.

As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you;
abide in my love.

10 If you keep my commandments,
you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and abide in his love.

11 I have said these things to you
so that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment,
that you love one another
as I have loved you.

13 No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
14 You are my friends
if you do what I command you.

15 I do not call you servants any longer,
because the servant does not know what the master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
because I have made known to you everything
that I have heard from my Father.

16 You did not choose me
but I chose you.
And I appointed you to go and bear fruit,
fruit that will last,
so that the Father will give you
whatever you ask him in my name.

17 I am giving you these commands
so that you may love one another.

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1. Read-2

 

 

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1. Read-3

THE VINE GROWER
(based on John 15)

brands-intro-wine

Ancient, gnarly hands rest with surprising gentleness on his knee.
A little waft of smoke rises from an old wooden pipe between his thumb and fingers.

It’s October, but he has no need of a calendar.
He knows the weather is turning.
He can feel it in his bones.
He moves the pipe to his mouth, using his lips to draw on it and settle it,
in its familiar spot,

And then those ancient hands, which have overseen timeless seasons,
stretch out slowly, ready to work.

It’s chausser les vignes’ time – turning the soil.
Trudging each row, up and down
Turning and plowing the rich earth between The Vine
Storing up strength and protection for The Branches.

Abide in me, as I abide in you.

He watches for the last leaf fall.
It’s November.
He waits.
Waits for the winter sleeping to begin. So he waits some more.
It’s December.

The long and careful and loving process of pruning begins now.
From his wooden toolbox he lifts his pruning shears.

He prunes every branch that bears no fruit.
And every branch that bears fruit,
he also prunes, to make it bear more fruit.

 Abide in me, as I abide in you.

It’s February.
It’s cold and The Vine is pruned and bare.
The Vine Grower begins ‘tirage des bois’ – removing the wood.
Gathering and burning.
Ashes to ashes.
Dust to dust.

Whoever does not abide in me
is thrown away like a branch.
Gathered and burned.

 Abide in me, as I abide in you.

The Vine awakens from his winter sleep.
Its March.
The beginning of a new growth cycle.
The sap rises in The Branches
And oozes through the scars left by The Vine Grower’s shears.

Buds swelling, first leaves, future Branches.
Flowering begins the fruiting.
April, May and June.
The Vine Grower lovingly tends each new bud, leaf and Branch.
Cupping the new growth in his old hands.

As the Vine Grower has loved me, so I love you.

Abide in that love.

 It’s hot.
The heat of July turns into the sweltering of August.
The Branches abide in The Vine and the fruit is setting.
Growing and ripening
Clustering and changing colour.

‘L’aoûtement’ – hardening off.
The Vine Grower tastes and tends
Waiting for just the right moment.

And when the time is just right,
the ancient Vine Grower prepares for harvest.

The Vine Grower is glorified by two things.
And do you know what they are?
That you bear much fruit and become his disciples.
 

The Vine Grower chose us.
The Vine Grower loves us.
Without him, we can do nothing.

ABIDE.

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1. Read-4

  • I WONDER what “abiding” really means in this day and age?
  • I WONDER can we really “ask for whatever we wish” if we abide in him and he in us? What does that mean?
  • I WONDER what happens to us when God prunes us?
  • WHO are the characters in this story? Try unpacking them. Where do you fit in?
  • WHAT fruit are we to bear?
  • WHY did God choose you?

STORYTELLING TIPS:

Have you ever wondered how stories from so long ago can be relevant today?
Have you ever thought a story you’re learning has no modern cultural reference?
Have you ever thought, this story is from another time, another culture and doesn’t mean anything now?

Try looking for the connecting points.
In this story, I looked for something to connect the story to today and found that modern wine-making has very similar processes to those the Jesus was taking about.
Research, Google, look up, read and bury yourself in those connecting points so the story embeds itself in your soul.

 

 

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