John Day 28: Jesus the Vine

One with Christ by Kim Kunzer-Zalke

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 28 Reading:
John 15:1-17

Bringing the Word to Life
Maundy Thursday got its name in recognition of the night Jesus gave us the new commandment (in Latin a new mandatum) to “Love each other as I have loved you.” Write a list of the people you come in contact with on a regular basis. How do you express your love for them? How is Jesus calling you to lay down your life for them as He did for us?

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. – John 15:4 (NRSV)

And you, high eternal Trinity, acted as if you were drunk with love, infatuated with your creature. When you saw that this tree could bear no fruit but the fruit of death because it was cut off from you who are life, you came to its rescue with the same love with which you had created it: you engrafted your divinity into the dead tree of our humanity. O sweet tender engrafting! You, sweetness itself, stooped to join yourself with our bitterness. – Catherine of Siena 

Observation
In John 14, Jesus explains that as his followers we are no longer orphans but children who have a heavenly home. In this passage he explains we are no longer servants but friends. Then he goes even further. Jesus uses the image of a grapevine to illustrate the kind of relationship the disciples will have with God through him – abiding. You in me and I in you. Abiding in God throught Christ will not only mark the relationship believers have with God, but also the relationship they will have with one another.

Application
Christ’s Abiding Love- a love that draws us so close to God we abide “in” God through Christ. We are grounded to salvation, the kingdom, and eternal life through Jesus, the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11, Romans 15). This love invites our surrender- surrender to obedience, sacrifice and pruning, not in order to earn the love, but in order that the love would bear even more “fruit”, the sweet fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). In Christ, we dwell with fellow believers and our neighbors in a way that is intertwined, interconnected. Abiding in Christ creates both character and community.

The United Methodist Communion liturgy known as Word and Table Two includes this prayer, which I have adapted slightly- Make us one with Christ, one with each other, one in ministry unto all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we all go home to feast at the heavenly banquet. This prayer reminds me of the beautiful, redemptive circle we find in this passage:

  • God the Maker of heaven and earth providing the grapevine and the Christ
  • The burying of the grape seed in the earth followed by the young plant bursting forth from the ground. The burying of Christ in Mary’s womb to come forth as the root of Jesse, the promised Messiah. The burying of Christ after his death only to burst forth from the earth like an abundant grapevine. Christ’s fruit is salvation-  lives connected to God and others- lives forgiven, redeemed, and bearing fruit themselves.
  • The staking of the grapevine to lift it from the earth and Jesus lifted high on the cross
  • The wine made by pressing/crushing grapes and the pressing/crushing of Christ in his Passion. His Passion begins with hours of difficult prayer in the Grden of Gethsemane. The word “Gethsemane” literally means “oil press”. The process of making olive oil shares much with the process of making wine.
  • Christ the host of feasting at the Last Supper, a meal of bread and wine. This meal relates to the Passover feast, the institution of the feast of Holy Communion, and the feast of the heavenly banquet.

Prayer
This hymn text was written at the request of a pastor friend many years ago. She wanted a hymn which expressed the themes of John 15. I share it today remembering her; thankful for her friendship and encouragement back when I was first beginning to write. I pray you would feel the abiding love of God and others this day and every day. – Lisa <><

You Are the Source
a hymn text based on John 15:1-8
Meter- 86.86 with Refrain (CM with Refrain)
Suggested Tune- GIFT OF FINEST WHEAT (United Methodist Hymnal #629)

Refrain–
You are the Source of grace and life,
the Root of all that’s true
You join us to this mystery
as we abide in You

Verses–
Dear children of this fallen sod
the Gard’ner knows our need
in grafting us to Christ the Vine
we gain eternity (Refrain)

For we are branches of the Vine
joined cross both time and place
no fruit is grown apart from Christ
for what is grown needs grace (Refrain)

You prune our lives with utmost care
so we might bear more fruit
the fruit of justice, peace, and love
lived out in all we do (Refrain)

Eternal Vine, most Holy Seed
sewn as Your willing Son
so intertwine Your family vine
that we might be as one (Refrain)

© May 19, 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.
Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to original music.

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Click here for a powerful and beautiful reflection by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled Gardner God based on a passage with similar themes, Luke 13:6-9

For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

3 thoughts on “John Day 28: Jesus the Vine

  1. If I were interested in using the hymn in worship, would I simply need to include this line … © May 19, 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

  2. Pingback: Jesus, the Coming Messiah- Shoot from Jesse’s Stump (Isaiah 11, Matthew 3, John 15) | Turning the Word

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