Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 20 of Lent :: In the Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be
even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have
spoken to you. Remain in me,
as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself;
it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you
remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart
from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:1-5

Jesus describes the intimacy that he offers as the connectedness between the vine and its branches. I long to be grafted into Jesus as a branch is grafted into the vine, so that all my life comes from the vine. In communion with Jesus, the Vine, my little life can grow and bear fruit. I know it, but I do not live it. Somehow, I keep living as if there are other sources of life that I must explore outside of Jesus. But Jesus keeps saying, “Come back to me, give me all your burdens, all your worries, fears, and anxieties. Trust that with me you will find rest.”*

Prayer: God, You are good and generous. Teach me how to celebrate life’s pains and sorrows so that I can discover in them a deeper love of you and a stronger hope in your promises. Let me see loss and failure not as setbacks, but as opportunities for a more fruitful life. May you always abide in me.

Action: Review a past sorrow and find in it one positive outcome. Discipline yourself to show gratitude throughout this day on at least several occasions. Look in the smallest corners for opportunities to nurture a thankful heart.**

*Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, 165.
**Judy Bauer, Lent and Easter, 21.

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