John 15: 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.
A Word of Hope
I was cutting out a prickly, invasive vine that had gotten entangled in my spirea bush this morning when a scripture came to me: “I am the vine and you are the branches.”
“Not this vine, Jesus,” I said inside. “You didn’t tell us we’d have to distinguish between you and other lovely looking vines with orange-yellow bell- shaped flowers which wrap around the plant and eventually choke their host.”
“That’ll preach,” another voice said. (By the time you are my age, you carry lots of voices around inside you.)
Actually, I re-discovered that Jesus did speak of true vines—but earlier in the 15th chapter of John: “ I am the true vine and my father is the gardener.” Both scriptures point to the necessity of our recognizing and honoring our dependence upon the divine—and by extension our interdependence with each other and creation.
One reason the vine got ahead of me was that in order to keep the hungry, free-roaming white tail deer from eating the spirea greens, I staked off a circle a few feet from the plant and attached some netting to several poles, establishing a “shield of protection” around it. So far it has been working. But we’ve had a lot of rain this year, so the netting means that my yard guys can’t use the weed eater to cut fast growing grass inside it. Now I have to remove that by hand, being careful to look out for a snake that may have taken refuge in the camouflage and shade.
I netted as well the yellow and pink lantana bushes to preserve their blossoms for the bees and migrating monarchs—both threatened species.
It takes special care and more time, but then, isn’t that what loving stewards of the divine do? Isn’t that what the divine Beloved does with us? And haven’t we all been saved by that gracious care? Let us extend it too.
Sometimes, God, we don’t want to acknowledge our dependence on you—or others. We want to “do it by ourselves,” we self sufficient people. But we are bound in love to you and to creation. Only in this relationship will we be whole and wholly in love. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon