The True Vine — St. John’s Gospel, Chapter 15

Today the Church Guys discussed Chapter 15 of St. John’s Gospel. It was one of those discussions where everything came together; where a new level of meaning, a level of meaning that was hiding in plain sight, emerged.

Chapter 15 continues our Lord’s great discourse before His arrest and crucifixion. He is preparing the Apostles to be our bishops; to carry on His message and His life, not as slaves or servants, but as His friends. He began by saying that He is the true vine. This image meant little to me in the past, but recently I visited a vineyard. Not this one, but similar.

Although every leaf is unique, every one is connected to every other. It is one plant, one living thing. That is what the Old Covenant people were to be and, for many years, were. One people worshiping one Lord. Our Lord offers something new. “Abide in me, as I abide in you.” John 15:4. “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15:14-15. Our Lord is offering something new — He is offering unity. Rather than relating to God as separate beings across a chasm, Christ offers us a chance to participate in and be a part of the very life of God — the eternal furnace of white-hot love between the Father and the Son.

But that’s not all. Not only do we relate to Him in an organic unity, we relate to each other. Each leaf is truly interconnected, not as a weak political slogan, but truly and completely. This kind of unity is unusual: individuality is perfect, but unity is perfect. If this is the kind of life He offers, count me in.

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