The Vine and the Branches: our relationship with God AND each other
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES: RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
Confusion, frustration, hurt, and yes, at times, even anger-these are all parts of a relationship. Any relationship that we have invested ourselves in, whether it is with our spouse, children, family, or friends. If you are in a relationship, sooner or later, you will experience these feelings- sometimes, all within a few days of each other! And yet, in John chapter 15, verses 5-17, Christ Himself tells us that He is the vine, and we are the branches. What, exactly, does that mean? After doing a little research, I found out that vines are very tough; one of the toughest plants there is. They will grow almost anywhere; they are determined, and will often be found growing through wood, siding, gravel, even bricks. They can easily overtake anything in their path, covering it up completely (anyone out there ever seen kudzu?) This, to me, is like Christ; like His love for us. Determined. Persistent. Able to break through anything. With the ability to cover all. All our sin. All our failures. All our hopelessness. Yet, in these verses, Christ says He is the vine, and WE are the branches. The vine feeds the branches; nourishes them. Just as Christ does to us. But, what do the branches do? They supply the fruit, to others; to the world. We are to show the world-and each other-God’s love for us, and for them. By being kind. By loving our neighbor as ourselves. By lending a helping hand. By being there, when someone REALLY needs us. I have heard it said that, our relationship with God, and others, is displayed in the picture of the cross; one beam, stretching between Heaven and Earth, and the other stretching out horizontally. When our love for God, our relationship with Him is right, then our relationship with others will be right, also. Maybe not perfect, but in a place that will allow us to “roll with the punches”, overlook actions, words….to forgive.
“Lord, help me to remember to always put my relationship with You first, to make sure it is right, before I try to “fix” my relationships with others. Help me to remember that I am a branch off of you, and to show your love to others. Help me to be the kind of friend to others, that you are to me, and to ‘love my neighbor as myself’. Amen.”