Lectionary Devotion: Fifth Sunday of Easter, John 15:1-8

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by Ryan on May 2, 2012

For the last two years the most watched television series on a cable channel has been Pawn Stars, a show that chronicles the ongoing activities of a pawn store in Las Vegas where customers present various items asking, “Is this worth anything?” The success of this program has spawned a number of treasure seeking shows with individuals searching for forgotten treasure in abandoned storage units, backyard junk piles, and cluttered barns, sheds, and attics. The most memorable finds are those in which an ordinary item yields an incredible value as the radiant owner beams with a newfound appreciation for a long forgotten item.

When reflecting on our passage from John (with all the slashing, cutting, pruning, and yes, burning), context is everything as the only highly valued item in Jesus’ pawn store is a deep appreciation and respect for God’s love. Read More

This passage falls in Jesus’ farewell discourse as he prepares for his departure from the disciples and return to God (John 13:1-17:26) and includes Christ’s final commandment: Love One Another. To Jesus, all relationships are intwined together in God’s creation and nurtured by God’s grace. Eugene Peterson translates it as “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” The challenging aspect of this passage is what to do with those who choose not to be a part of the proverbial vine, the castoffs. As extensions of God’s love, we are called to love others the way that Jesus loves us, even those who are withering on the vine or have abandoned the vine long ago. Just like a newfound appreciation for a long forgotten heirloom or a newly discovered trinket, to Jesus, the vine isn’t fully complete or thriving until each of us are connected with a deep appreciation for one another and for God’s grace and love.

PRAYER: Nurturing God, just as the Psalmist pleaded ‘search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead in the way everlasting,’ we too offer ourselves for your spiritual examination. Guide and inspire us to abide in your vineyard so that our thoughts and actions are filled with your life-giving love. Amen.

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