John 15:1-3 – I am the real vine and my Father is the gardener. Every barren branch of mine he cuts away; and every fruiting branch he cleans, to make it more fruitful still. You have already been cleansed by the word that I spoke to you. (NEB)
My experience with fellow crafters is that we will go to great lengths to engage in our craft. Such was the case with my friend and me as we drove into the countryside midwinter. The manager of a nearby vineyard had agreed to allow us to gather grapevine branches with which to make decorative wreaths.
As we drove into the vineyard, we were looking at the vines. They reminded us of soldiers standing in ranks that formed straight lines in every direction. Like sentinels, the vines seemed to be protecting the land for as far as we could see. Then we noticed the pruned branches lying between the rows like hundreds of casualties on a battlefield. Many of the branches had already been piled in heaps waiting to be burned.
Jesus' teaching in John 15 became clear as I held in my hands the branches that would later be formed into a symbol of the circle of life. To be united with the Father, we must stay connected to the Son. To be fruitful throughout our cycle of life, we must be cleansed with the Word. Was there ever a more beautiful description of Christian life and service?
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for turning an afternoon adventure into a beautifully profound biblical lesson. Keep us, we pray, connected to Your Son. Cleanse us and make us fruitful that we might one day be united in heaven with You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.