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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 17, 2003

     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 (Message*)

We tend to react negatively to the idea of being cut back. But Jesus, through this analogy with the farmer, points out that careful pruning is often needed to allow the fruit to be abundant. If we yearn to be fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ, we should welcome Christ's pruning.

When a plant is pruned, much of what is pruned was fruitful in the past. In the same way, we often need to be pruned of what has served Christ in us, but whose time in our life has passed. As both individuals and faith communities, we need to be periodically pruned of what was good in the past in order to allow us to be more fruitful now and in the future. The life of faith is a dynamic one, not a static one.

The life of faith is dynamic, but Jesus tells us that there is a constant which is vital. We must remain joined to Him. As a branch, we can't be fruitful by going around and trying to join other vines. We must stay firmly joined to the real vine, the true vine, which is Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord and Friend, may we readily accept your pruning so that we may be fruitful disciples. May we stay in you, and make ourselves a place for you, so that we are intimately and organically tied to the one true source of Life which can make us abundant.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2003 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:02:53 EST