"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. . . ." - John 15:4
We have grapevines in our backyard, and we often need to cut back the tendrils—threadlike spirals that help the plant attach to supports while it climbs. When we have cut the tendrils, we notice two things: moisture steadily drips from the vine where we made the cut, and the cut-off tendrils begin to wilt right away.
In our reading for today, Jesus describes something similar. He describes himself as a vine, and he says we are like the vine's branches. This is a way of communicating the intimate connection between us and Christ. He is the source, and whoever remains in him will bear the fruit of his love. But if we do not remain in him, we will be like a branch cut off by the gardener, and we will quickly wither and die.
Jesus gives us this illustration while he is talking about our top priority in living for God in this world—that is, to love one another as he has loved us, and to share his love with everyone around us. As we do that, we bear good fruit for the world to enjoy—and all of this is for God's glory.
Jesus also says that in this world we will face troubles, but because we remain in him, we need not be afraid. The message is clear: we cannot control the outcome of anything, but God is in control—so we don't need to live in fear about what might happen. We can simply remain in him, and we can see what he will do in and through us.
Loving Lord, where would we be without your presence? Thank you for every breath and for every good thing we receive through you. Help us to remain in you. In your name, Amen.