“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.” John 15:1–8 The Message
This week I am giving you a prayer exercise. I am going to ask you to read the words of Jesus in the above passage three times, letting the words and the questions below work in you each time. So, get yourself comfortable and relaxed, breath in and breath out and ask God to speak to you through his Word and Spirit.
First reading: As you read, ask yourself, “what is the posture of a plant, what is the posture of branches.”
Second Reading: As you read think about what this analogy means practically. Try not to get to philosophical or spiritual, but use your imagination. If you were an actual branch, and Jesus was your actual “mother plant,” how would that work, what are the implications?
Third Reading: As you read the passage a final time and then sit for a few minutes in silence, listen to God. What does he want you to do with this? What does he have for you in this passage?
Jesus is meant to be our sustenance, like a branch is fed by the plant, so we are fed by Jesus. Like a branch fed by a plant, we are useless if we are disconnected from the plant. But, if we are connected in, we live, we produce, we are able to thrive and not just survive.
I hope you make space to spend some time with this scripture – alone or with others. Let me know how it goes. Peace, hope and love Doug