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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Today’s Reading | John 15:1–11

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 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. 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. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; 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 abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (NRSV)


Reflection

I struggle with gossip. Many people at work let me know that my running mouth is often not a helpful tool but rather can be quite destructive. When coworkers remind me of this, it hurts, exposing again that my sin is destroying myself and others. It leads me down a path of shame and condemnation. Yet I am learning this shame and condemnation is not from God. Yes, God hates my sin, and yes, God wants me to be free from it; but the truth and amazing news about Holy Week is that God loves me so much that he sent his Son, the true vine, to save me from my destructive ways.

In my heart, I have at times believed that my struggle with gossiping is a testimony that I am unworthy to receive God’s love and as a result my sin was driving me away from God. It was alienating me. The Bible teaches the opposite, as John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:8, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” What healing truth, that by acknowledging my sin and repenting it is evidence that God loves me and is doing a good work in me.

Today, we are in the midst of Holy Week, and God, our good Vine Keeper, wants to remind us that God loves us and cares for us and is not alarmed or afraid of our sin, but God does want to save us from it and that is why he sent his Son, the true vine.

Friends join me today in knowing this truth: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (NIV). May this truth bulwark our hearts that we may abide in the arms of our good God.


Prayer

Dear God, thank you for loving me in spite of my own condemnation and shame. Thank you for sending your Son into the world to save me. Help me to abide with you today. Amen.


Written by Daniel Holladay, Administrative Assistant to Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and the Day School


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