Monday, May 7, 2012

We are the Branches

John 15:1-8

“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.”    (v.4-5) 

In this discussion with his disciples, on the night of his arrest, Jesus teaches about the relationship they’ll have with him – a relationship that will bear fruit if they abide by his word and love.

After 3 ½ months without a fulltime pastor, we now have someone in the pulpit -- an interim pastor who will help us determine where God is leading us as we prepare to call a fulltime pastor. In his first newsletter to the congregation, he wrote about his three priorities: to continue and affirm the ministries, programs and activities of the congregation and provide worship leadership and pastoral care; to work with the staff and lay leaders to discern the best direction for the congregation’s future; and to prepare for the calling of a permanent pastor. 

In essence, he’ll be helping us build--and re-build—relationships with each other. 

There’s plenty of work to do: some members of our congregation have been hurt, some are angry, some are indifferent. I sense the work won’t be easy, and although many stepped forward during those 3 ½ months, I know we’ll each be challenged to take bigger steps … to dig deeper … to consider the type of branch that we are … and to discover the fruit we’re capable of bearing. 

This past Sunday, he talked about the people and places in his life and the packing and unpacking he’s in the midst of. “Life is full of hellos and goodbyes, isn’t it?” he asked, and then he reminded us that relationships are built on partnerships and that the most successful partnerships are grounded in prayer and the promises of the Scripture: 

“You are God’s chosen people.” 
                            1 Peter 2:9 

“Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demon, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else n all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
                            Romans 8:38


Linking to Michelle and the Hear It, Use It community