Today is Friday the 23 April, the feast of St George, in the third week of Easter.
Salt of the Sound sings, ‘Abide With Me’.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 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.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower”. Why do you think that Jesus tells us this? What does it say to you, at this time in your life?
In this passage, Jesus uses a good many words that may make us feel a bit uncomfortable. When we hear things like “he removes”, “he prunes”, “you have been cleansed”, or when Jesus speaks of a branch that “withers” or is “gathered, thrown into the fire and burned”, do you think there is a challenge to us here? Is there a challenge for you?
The word that's used most often in this passage is “abide” (something like eight times, but you can count for yourself). What do you think this word means? Why does Jesus use it here?
Now listen to the passage again. Hear Jesus’s words as though they were spoken directly to you.
What is Jesus saying to you today? How would you like to reply? Use your own words, and speak to him.
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.