Part of our family is Julien, who was born in France and is studying wine production. Just as he will always be French, the identity of wine is given by the stock. Australian vintners can no longer name their wines after the regions of France where the grapes originated.
How does Jesus as our root stock elucidate our identity and bear fruit?
Last Sunday, 1000s of people sang “Abide with me” but it’s in life, not death that I need an enduring sense of belonging and enrichment of my spirit. What is abiding and enduring is so welcome in a world of sham and spam and planned obsolescence and game playing. The abiding spiritual in us is like the dove John saw that descended on Jesus to abide in him, the same as Jesus later promised: ‘the spirit I will send will abide with you forever’. Where are you deeply connected. Do you cherish a life-giving vine like Jesus?
The vine we abide in bears quality fruit in a loving life. Counter intuitively, it’s the pruning that brings the best quality. We see this in rolling cycles of roses in front of our house – buds emerge out of dry wood. Our sad and painful experiences can enrich our wisdom and compassion. Cross and Resurrection is our preeminent sign of this truth. We do rise from ashes to transformed living. Jesus’ parable speaks not only of quality but quantity. ‘Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit’. We found in a weedy garden the old thick root stock of a flowering grape. Year by year we strung its branches over a frame to create a shady patio. It looked so dry and barren in winter but left alone it would soon be all over the house roof. Hidden in what seems dry in us is a tremendous capacity for abundant life. What fruit would we like?
The fruit of our connectedness and our pruning are the gifts and graces and wisdom we develop that are so rich they can feed and even transform the lives of others. The sharing in our service of our insights and stories from life creates between us a spiritual connection. Spiritual connection can emerge from sharing our earthy humanity. This includes the expression of our sexuality in intimate relationships. Be fruitful and multiply in Genesis 1 is the agenda for all endeavours in life.
May we have the abiding Spiritual connectedness that produces the fruit we long for.