John 15:5,8: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

When God created us He danced over us and blessed us. More than being the Creator of the universe, God is the Father of creation; otherwise He would just be a production machine, dropping off His creation without further involvement – but nothing could be further from the truth. God is no heartless genius; He loves His creation and thankfully, this is His most defining feature. He has a beautiful heart and mind; and we miss out on His tender fatherhood if we fail to recognize that. Jesus calls Him “Abba”, which means “Dad” and the Father and His Son trust each other completely.

On account of trust our cat taught me a lesson this morning. He jumped on my desk to be petted – expecting me to drop everything else I was doing. He purred with his belly up, exposing his most vulnerable parts. Our cat knows I would never do him any harm, and He is right of course. I love him very much.

Jesus loves the Father as much as the Father loves Him; and the Lord invites us to be a part of this close-knit relationship. Our connection with Him produces a crop of fruit. Jesus says that we can recognize a tree by its crop. We can have good nourishing fruit or we can produce sour grapes that give us a stomach ache. Our good fruit hinges on knowing the Lord. – On this note, I know a dirty little secret: the underlying reason for most fruitless efforts is doing things on our own; but when we stay with the Lord our good fruit reflects back on Him and gives Him glory.

We are called to know God intimately; and Jesus uses a grapevine to illustrate this kind of closeness: Some types of climbing vines have small disk-like adhesive tips that can attach to any type of surface; spiritually, we can be attached to the Lord anywhere, anytime. With this imagery in mind, can we appreciate how close God is to us? He is a very good Father and His children are His pride and joy. Reaching out and taking His hand makes the best version of ourselves and brings healing to the world.

“Put your hand in the hand of the man
Who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the man
Who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself
And you can look at others differently
Put your hand in the hand of the man
From Galilee” – Songwriters: Gene Mac Lellan