Jesus the Vine: Bearing Fruit

half-dead-half-alive-tree

Half Dead, Half Alive- an oil painting by Bryna B.

John 15:1-2, 8, 16a (NRSV)
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit… My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples… You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…”

From a vine we look for grapes,
and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life.
– Matthew Henry

In the promise of an ‘abiding’ presence God’s Easter people find not some abstract speculation about a distant or imaginary Trinity, but an invitation to experience the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a saving and liberating presence in the midst of our day-to-day world. – James Boyce

For an incredible poem entitled Pruning by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, click here

Matthew 3:8
Bear the fruit that comes from repentance.

At the word of the prophet
we seize our cutting tools
as if repentance is all slashing and lopping,
and, yes there is pruning,
but the real energy that gives light in this darkness
is not shame at what is wrong or dead,
but delight and hope for the fruit that is alive,
that is hidden deep in soil, deep in winter’s buds.
Repentance is not the “No” of self-disappointment
but the “Yes” of seeking, protecting, nourishing
what might otherwise be choked off.
It’s not mere impatience with what is,
but patience for what is coming to be.
Don’t start with the dead branches.
Start with the fruit. It’s in you.
That’s what kind of tree you are.
– Steve Garnaas Holmes, Fruit of Repentance

Jeremiah 8:13 (NRSV)
When I wanted to gather them, says the Lord, there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree; even the leaves are withered, and what I gave them has passed away from them.

God expects fruit- the fruit of faith, the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of believing and praying and trusting and seeking and serving. This is an active faith, alive and growing and multiplying. This is a deep faith, rooted in the eternal truth of Christ. – Lisa <><

Prayer for the Fruit of Faith
ONE VOICE:
Jesus, Abiding One,
You welcome us
and give us the joy of welcoming others.
You pour grace into our hearts
and give us the joy of extending grace to our neighbors.
You share good news
and give us the joy of spreading your news throughout the world.

ALL VOICES
We lack nothing.
Our branches are full of leaves.
We seem to blossom, but where is the fruit?

ONE VOICE:
Where are the bodies healed for your glory?
Where are the minds enlightened by your majesty?
Where are the captives rejoicing in your freedom?
Where are the saved crying out in thanksgiving?

ALL VOICES:
Something is wrong.
Some of us think we know.
Some of us don’t want to know.
You know.
Show us before our time has passed.
Show us before we wither and die.

Time of silent listening

ONE VOICE:
Give us the courage to hear and to trust.
Grant us grace to turn and connect.
We surrender to your pruning.

ALL VOICES:
We want to bear fruit for you.
Fruit that is good.
Fruit that will last.
Fruit that comes season after season after season.
We believe.
Help our unbelief.
Amen.

********
Prayer for the Fruit of Faith © 2012 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

For two other posts on John 15, click here and click here

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

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