May 5, 2009

Not my Job

The gospel passage for Sunday is another of those "well-known-pericopes" in scripture.  The "I am the vine, you are the branches" passage is oft quoted in sermons, Bible studies, and prayers.  But I'm noticing this morning that we get the whole vine/branch relationship backwards.

How many times have you heard someone say, "you must bear fruit to be a follower of Jesus"?  The more I think about it the more I realize that we always assume that the branches (that is, we) are the ones bearing fruit.  But as we all know, a branch not connected to the vine, not connected to the root system, dies.  Fruit might grow on the branches, but it is by no means the result of the branches productive abilities - it is only because the vine provides nourishment.

So then, what is required of us?  To remain connected to the vine in prayer, in community, in study, and, as Micah 6.8 tells us by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

Growing fruit isn't my job.  I spend most of my time struggling against myriad outside forces just to stay connected to the vine.

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