John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 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. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
|image : Richard van As|
Look at this figure:
What emotion do you see?
When last did you feel like this?
These are not just irritating questions – they are the deepest questions of life. Today my daughter and I were watching little children skipping down the road outside her home, and we both exclaimed “How cute”. My next comment to her was “Why is it that while children can express such unfettered joy, we as adults lose this ability?”
Jesus promises that “your joy may be complete”. Surely this cannot remain as an intellectual concept, or as a fleeting feeling swiftly suppressed? Why has the religious impulse to joy been so effectively crushed out of us – and when did we agree to become so “respectable”? This is not a joy that ignores the difficulties of life. On the contrary, it is a joy that helps us cope with the toughest times. Like a branch that is connected to the vine, we can draw on God's strength to get though each day. This strength is sufficient that when we reach the end of the day - we will find enough left over for some joy as well.
In the interests of my soul, I resolve to skip for joy more often.
Second Sunday of Easter
23 Partakers of Eternal Life
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 148.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day