John 15:1-8

"I am the vine, you are the branches," we tend to get distracted in this scripture cause we're too busy trying to judge whose on the vine and who is thrown in the fire. This scripture really intends for us to wrestle with where we ourselves are. If we pay more attention to this we have a foundation of abiding that will bring us through the toughest of storms. We only have to look at this past week.

We like to think we are in control of things. We get to decide where we go and what we do and how we'll encounter others. This past week things happened in Baltimore just as they had in Ferguson, also there was a major earthquake in Nepal. Anytime we can get caught up in a city being torn apart, anytime our foundations can crumble because nature has taken away everything we ever knew. Through this we find ourselves out of control and dependent on others actions. We find when people choose to use violence we are sometimes helpless to stop it, even if it means our own neighborhood is destroyed. We are helpless in the face of the roughness of mother nature and we wonder how we can face those times.

If we have been attentive to our own branch we might see things a little more clearly. We need to attend to this in different ways at different times in our walk, and this will lead us to being able to abide in God's love. First is the fruit, fruit comes to us in all sorts of ways and sometimes it is especially hard to recognize. Our focus can be distracted, sometimes because in our estimation the fruit has to be big, this is not so because fruit tends to be small and quiet. Look at this past week in Baltimore there were many pictures of violence and protest and fire. Somehow there were also pictures of a small black boy going down the row of policemen in riot gear and handing them water. There was also the footage of a black man who stood in between protestors and the police saying to the protestors that they could not hurt the police and using his body to shield them. This is fruit.

The other part of the branch we have to attend to is pruning. We have to step back and evaluate which parts of our lives are producing fruit and which ones need trimming in order to encourage growth. This is not easy because sometimes it means we feel challenged by a certain issue or a certain thing and have to see what might be going on within and whether God is trying to show us something new. This is an area of prayer and working out ourselves. It is when we see a new way forward and God has changed us yet it is all so hard to explain what started it. This is being open to new ventures and the changes we all go through in life.

The last thing we must look at is are we abiding in the branch? Have we been grafted into Jesus, into God so that through this deep abiding we start to see our connection. This is what truly sustains us on the journey whether it is by reading the daily office or reading a devotional or praying daily we can begin to see we have been attached to the vine and are trailing down the road reaching out to others and back to the giver of life itself. This is what truly sustains us when things go totally out of our control. Its what helps us to realize we have a source of life that can't be broken and sometimes needs repair. We are grafted in by our own choice to pay attention to our own branch and whether it dies or has abundant life is up to us.