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Lent 2022

Read John 15:1-17

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

In these few verses, Jesus uses a single word 10 different times: “abide.” Is there really a good way to define this word? How do you tell someone what it means to abide? We might use other verbs like to sit, rest, be, dwell, live, or remain. At the same time, we realize that this word carries with it not just a state of being or an action we do, but this word also communicates blessings and benefits being given to us and worked in us. To abide means to be nourished, united, rooted, strengthened. This is why Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine. The branches are attached to the vine. That attachment translates into blessings flowing from vine to branch for its ongoing growth and sustaining. How do you separate one activity from the other? You cannot. That is abiding.

This is how God works in the lives of those washed and claimed in the name of Christ. It is a daily invitation to sit with Jesus, rest in Jesus, be with Jesus, live in Jesus, dwell with Jesus, remain in Jesus.

A busy life may seem to have little room for this “abiding.” But that just shows how important it is. In those times especially, we need his nourishing, strengthening, and sustaining presence. “Abide in me. Abide in my word. Abide in my love.” Jesus abides with us.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for covering me with your protection and presence. Break through the noise and overwhelming pace of life to call me to find rest in you. As I abide in you, assure me that you enable me to do what you ask through your living and life-giving word and spirit. Amen.

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