The Feast of Saint George | Tuesday 23 April 2024

Today is Tuesday 23 April, the feast of Saint George, in the 4th week of Eastertide.

Salt of the Sound sings, ‘Abide With Me’. As you listen, prepare for prayer by becoming aware of God’s loving presence with you now…

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, O abide with me
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
O thou who changest not, abide with me
I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me
Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee
In life, in death, abide with me

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.

John 15:1-8

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.

You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.

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.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Here Jesus describes himself as a vine, and God, his loving Father, as the vinegrower. Imagine a vine, growing strongly, abundantly leafy, drooping with bunches of grapes…. perhaps one you have seen growing in a warm climate, or in a hothouse…..

In what way is this a good image to describe how Jesus wants us to grow in him? Is this image of the vine one that speaks to you? Do you feel cared for, protected, gently pruned, as a vine cherished by the vine grower? Close to Jesus?

As you listen to the passage again, notice how Jesus keeps repeating how carefully the vine is treated in order that it will be fruitful, how he tells us again and again that being closely grafted into the true vine, abiding in him, enables us to be fruitful.

What would you like to ask Jesus for, to help you to grow closer to him, and be more fruitful?

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 April
4th week of Easter
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