Each time I read about the vine and the branches in John’s gospel (15:1-8) I am reminded of the time I tried to dig up the old grapevine that sat in the middle of our yard. It was certainly older than I and we thought it was time for it to retire. It was one of the best spiritual practices I had ever engaged! We were both quite steadfast: me following the branches into the ground over days of digging and pulling until all merged into one, and the vine always one step ahead of me in tenaciousness. I ended finally by cutting it below ground level, blessing it for the lessons it had taught me of strength and fidelity of purpose.
This morning Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches. He calls us to make our home in him to bear fruit. Those words offer me an image of warmth, being cradled as the nutrients for growth, the life force, the light of the sun and of God flow into me from the strong central core of my being, Christ. There can be no branch without that firm, steady center. Remain in me, Jesus says, as I remain in you. Together we will bear much fruit. With that promise I go forward into this sunny day.