March 31, 2012

John 15:1-12

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. 6 If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples. 9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you." (CEB)

There is a lot going on in this passage. Everything from the relationship of Israel and the "True Vine" to the directive of producing "good fruit." I would like to focus on the idea of being pruned (the CEB uses trimmed). I am by no means a master gardener and frankly, probably not even an amateur one at that but the concept of pruning makes a lot of sense to me. Cut away the dead stuff or even the stuff that won't produce fruit so it won't suck energy away from the parts that will in order to maximize growth. Sounds like a powerful spiritual practice to me. Could Lent be seen as a season of spiritual pruning? Which aspects of your life need pruning? 

What do you find meaningful, confusing, or challenging in this passage?