John 15:5-8: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

A Creator creates. Productiveness is the very essence of our Creator. We too are made to create. At the dawn of creation our Creator uttered His famous request: “Be fruitful and multiply!” Procreation is a funny thing. It almost comes across as if we were partnering up with our Creator in ushering in brand new life. And so we did. Along with plants and animal species we multiplied and spread out over the entire globe, our home planet Earth. Tragically, we have lost our innocence along the way. We’ve discovered how to be bad. Joni Mitchell wrote so pointedly: “We are stardust, we are golden. We are caught in the devil’s bargain and we got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”

Returning to the Garden is a great concept. So is recycling. There’s “cycle” in the word “recycle”, and for a reason. Something was created and used, but instead of landing in the trash it’s being recycled for further use. At the dawn of salvation mankind was recycled when Jesus came to restore our innocence. Now Jesus asks us to “produce much fruit”, a haunting reminder of the initial command: “be fruitful and multiply.” Coming full circle, now we know how not to be fruitful. We are God’s children, but we have fallen. There is a way to be productive without becoming the worst version of ourselves. Instead of evolving into a pain in the neck we can evolve into a light in the world: “Remain in Me”, Jesus says. That’s the secret.

Trailing woody-stemmed plants, vines derive from the grape family. Vines are climbers by nature. In order to climb they cling to something – such as a pole or a wall – in order to grow.  Jesus uses the imagery of a growing vine to symbolize a close-knit relationship. I believe Jesus picked the grape vine because they are so extremely attached, which is a great way of illustrating our friendship with Him.  I can almost hear Him saying: “Don’t go off on your own, buddy!”  Jesus’ words “I am with you always”, encourage us to grab His hand as we follow our Creator’s footsteps and plunge into our daily activities – with a friendly reminder to remain in Him.

“We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden”     
Joni Mitchell

 

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