West Point Grey United Church
Apr 28, 2024


John 15:1-8

Today we have shared in the sacrament of baptism, where Gabrielle responded positively to the questions: “Do you believe in God, the Source of love? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, Love Incarnate? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, love’s power?” In so doing she was confirming her desire to be a responsible member of this community of faith, to be a helpful, productive branch on the true vine described by Jesus in today’s scripture reading.

What does it mean to “abide in the vine”? 

Perhaps we can use the analogy of an ipad or lap-top. These cannot work without regular charging. Without a power source you have a dead device. So it is that Christians must be attached to the power source of God’s presence in the life of Jesus. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; now abide in my love.” Jesus also said “If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love.”  So abiding in the vine is living faithfully, surrounded by God’s love, and being a fruitful part of a Christian fellowship.

What happens when we do abide?

Jesus said “if you abide in me and my word abides in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” Also “if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” That fruit for us, hopefully, is when we reach out to others with faith and hope and love, generously serving the needs of others and helping others to believe in the Good News of Jesus.

What happens if we don’t abide?

Two boys were playing in a public park and delighted in climbing up into a tree that had nice branches. Suddenly they heard a mighty crack and the branch fell to the ground. They survived. From the ground the branch had looked alive, well connected to the tree, but in reality it was a dead branch. It was a kind of sham. According to Jesus, no matter how alive the branches of our life might look, if we don’t bear fruit, we are not in him. We need to hear and obey this warning if we are to abide in him.

It is like a parent saying to a child:  “My son, I love you. You are my son. When we cross the road together, I’m going to be with you. However, if you leave my side and run out into the road, bad things can happen to you.” Jesus’ words of warning and encouragement are to help us remain true and faithful disciples, and not get injured in life’s heavy traffic.

The way to produce fruit is to be empowered by God’s love to be the best that we can be. If you want to grow in patience: abide in Christ. If you want to be more loving: abide in Christ. If you want to be more thoughtful and generous: abide in Christ. Jesus said “if you abide in me and my word abides in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

May these be words and thoughts that help you to be a fruit-producing vine, today and always.