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March 27, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Twenty-Four

Week Four: Allocation of Resources

Reflection for the Week: How can we have courage to be generous even when we think there is not enough?

Here we go again. One of those all or nothing bible verses. Really Jesus? Apart from you we can do nothing? Well that is not literally true. We can do a lot of damage to ourselves and others by being selfish and cruel. Or, we can go through life just trying to get by, not seeking anything more than a roof over our heads and enough to eat each day. It’s not like without Jesus in our lives we fall on the ground and can’t get up. So what is the truth of this passage? It is purpose.

At the center of the text is the phrase “he will bear much fruit.” Even the most amateur farmer knows the fruit that is attached to the vine is connected to the root that is the source of life and growth. The fruit, as it moves from bud, to green fruit and finally to vine ripe, can only fulfill its potential by drawing on the sustaining elements of the root which are delivered through the vine. The purpose of every bud that blooms is to grow to its intended completion — ripened fruit. Apart from the vine, the fruit stops dead in its tracks, then withers and dies. The fruit never realizes its purpose for being.

From time to time people who once were actively connected to the body of Christ fall away. For some, the connections and relationships that once fed them begin to wither until there is no life connection left. Others have returned sharing with me they felt a lost sense of meaningful connection with God deep in their soul. They realized they needed to splice themselves back onto the branch of faith at a local church.

As Christians, our purpose for being is to stay connected with the source of life, our creator God. We do this through the vine, Christ who connects us with the mystery of God’s life giving love. What a fruit becomes is defined by the root and the branch, not the fruit. The reason I think it is so important to stay connected with some branch of the church is that it keeps us true to our purpose as Christians. We are to be sisters and brothers caring for each other throughout the seasons of life, until God’s kingdom comes on earth, as it is in heaven. There is purpose is such living.

Prayer: Gracious God may every prayer help keep me connected to you and mindful of my purpose. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference