Pastor's Note | Monday, June 10th1
I was sitting in my office while one of our Good Shepherd family was reading John 15.1-8 out loud in preparation for reading it in our worship service at 10:30am yesterday, June 9th. Since this was practice the first reading through, the passage had some halts and starts. One of those came with the words of Jesus who says, "if you remain in me you will bear fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (verse 5).
Now, it's one thing for Jesus to repeat his words - as he does in this passage - to make a point. It's another to have his repeated words repeated in the course of practice for reading them in our worship service. Something told me I needed to pay attention to these words.
Somehow the reader's voice faded into the background as my mind grappled with the words and the imagery of remaining or abiding, or living "in Jesus" just as a branch lives or remains in the vine. And it hit me, "I have been living this day (and maybe a few in recent weeks) apart from that close, abiding, hand-in-hand kind of "remain in me" invitation Jesus extends to me." In other words, I have been going about my routine, engaging in the activities, leading meetings, and joining discussions, but doing so apart from an awareness of Jesus' presence.
As we continue through our teaching series entitled The Summer of Love built upon the letter of 1 John, as we continue through a Season of Discernment concerning denominational affiliation, and as we continue to live out our call to make disciples who Connect with God, Grow in Faith, and Serve in Love, we really ought to respond to Jesus' words: "if you remain in me you will bear fruit." It will be useless (fruitless) to attempt to be part of the Church Jesus is building unless we live closely with him. It will be futile to try to make major decisions apart from being connected to the Source of our lives. It will be ineffective to try to help others know the amazing joy of relating to God without doing so ourselves.
Will you join me in acknowledging the sin of indifference toward and too often independence from the open arms of our risen Lord who loves it when we are close by his side?