Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener"

Ultimately, every human circle is doomed to dissolution if it is not caught up in the life of the only genuinely self sufficient circle of sufficiency, that of the trinity. For that circle is the only one that is truly and totally self sufficient. And all the broken circles must ultimately find their healing there.

Dallas Willard

I was contemplating the person of Jesus this morning during my drive into work and how we are the branches of the true vine. I thought about the cross-section of a vine and what it might look like compared the the cross-section of one of the branches. Both circles and quite similar but also very different. First of all, the branches aren't connected to the root so as branches we have no root unless we abide in Christ. The vine is then the source of nourishment for the branch. A look at the outer bark of the branch and of the vine also is revealing. Our skin is tender and supple and yielding. The farther the branch is away from the vine, the more tender and vulnerable it is. That is where we can be easily wounded but it is also where the fruit is produced. The closer the branch is to the vine the stronger it is but a short branch with thick skin bears no fruit. We need to count on Christ's strength and purposefully let him pour his life into the tender vulnerable parts of us so the fruit will come.

Another observation is that I've never seen a huge bunch of grapes hanging from a solitary branch attached to the one true vine. A grape vine has many branches and they actually help support each other when the fruit is produced so that by the strength of many they can stay attached to the vine and not be separated by wind or sleet. So then I will daily live my life as a branch among the branches, securely at one with the vine, reaching out in tenderness and vulnerability and allowing Christ to burst forth fruit in our advance.


Steve Coan said...

"That is where we can be easily wounded but it is also where the fruit is produced."

My friend, that is a deep mystery. All over creation it is seen. That any fruit ever gets produced or life is sustained is a testament to God's holding everything together.

We could probably even say: That which is most vulnerable is most productive. Amazing.

And this makes me consider the beauty of the strong defending the weak.

Steve Coan said...

Hey, I just recently saw you're from Michigan. Do you ever visit Mars Hill?

Sam Clark said...

No, Steve, I have not visited Mars Hill. Prior to January I was leading worship every Sunday in my home church. Since then we went through two separate bouts of chicken pox that meant either my wife or myself had to stay home with the children that had the pox. We also began a fresh new time of worship at our church that is difficult for me to miss just because I enjoy hearing the 70 or so people there discuss God's Word in an open forum. We are finally "clean" so within the next couple of months I am going to visit Mars Hill.

Steve Coan said...

We have a church that meets in our home, too. I wouldn't trade this calling for anything. But I would love to visit Mars Hill sometime. I like listening to Rob Bell's sermons.

Yes to open forums. Surely we are entering an age of open forums. We had one at our house last weekend that was SO refreshing. There is so much junk that some of us are willing to shed so we can lay hold of the beauty and strength of God.