Daily Devotion 14 May 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

John 15:4-9 ‘Jesus the True Vine’

4 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. 5 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. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me so I have loved you; abide in my love.

We may not have a vine in our garden, but the image which Jesus offers us holds true for any shrub that is special to us because of its beauty or significance. We need to abide in Christ and be part of the vine, because we draw our strength and our life from him. All too often, however, we act as if we were alone. No wonder we get disheartened at times.

Perhaps it is hard to understand that fruitfulness comes more from the quality, rather than the quantity of what we do. We are, after all, the branches, and not the vine itself! But the clue, I believe, is in the little phrase “and I in them” which Jesus adds (v. 5). Our efforts to work out our faith in daily living – to be ‘good branches’, if you like – come to nothing unless we grasp this truth. Our journey of faith will become less of a struggle when we realise that God is present in every experience. I find myself thinking of St Augustine’s words when he wrote in later life:

‘Too late I loved you, O beauty so ancient yet ever new! Too late I loved you!
And behold, you were within me, and there I searched for you’

Knowing this, our joy, as Jesus promised us, ‘will be complete’.

Prayer:

Loving God,
we thank you for these weeks after Easter
when we are given glimpses of the eternal life you have prepared for us.
And we thank you that, as your branches, we are linked together
by bonds of love which have their origin in your Son, our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.

‘Together met, together bound by all that God has done,
we’ll go with joy, to give the world the love that makes us one.’

Brian Wren (StF 588)

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Barrie Tabraham.
Images freely available online at https://www.clipart.email/clipart/vine-and-branches-clipart-36085.html.
Hymn words: © 1971, 1995, Stainer C. Bell Ltd

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