On Track With Bro. Larry
Iíve been reflecting on John 15:1-2 this week. Jesus says, ďI am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.Ē
Vines left to themselves will sprawl out all over the place and produce huge canopies of shoots, leaves and branches, and unless that canopy is controlled, the vine wonít yield much fruit.
Itís a counter-intuitive activity, the cutting back of the canopy, because all the greenery, all those leaves suggests that what youíve got here is a very healthy vine. In fact, itís all show and no tell.
A vine with a huge canopy may be looking good, but it isnít doing any good.
It reminds me of the 1990s BBC comedy Keeping Up Appearances. A matronly woman, Hyacinth, has only one concern in life, and that is to maintain the illusion that she is well-bred and in touch with the upper crusts of British society.
Thatís why, when her neighbor drives Hyacinth to her sisterís house, she instructs her neighbor to park the car in front of a well-appointed home on one street, and after asserting it is her sisterís home, leaves her neighbor in the car, dashes to the door, then ducks around to the side, climbs a six-foot brick wall in her dress, heels, flowered hat and all, falls to the ground, brushes herself off and marches to her sisterís actual abode ó a rundown tenement building the next street over.
Hyacinth is concerned about her ďcanopy,Ē the outward show.
Jesus was afraid that the disciples might fall into the same trap. He wasnít interested in showy disciples any more than he is interested in showy churches and showy Christians today. What he is interested in is fruit ó and not just fruit ó excellent fruit.
A grapevine is really a community ó many individual branches interconnected and intertwined, but all designed for the sole purpose of bearing fruit. While the individual branches are important, itís the fruit that is the point of whole process.
Grace and peace Ė Bro. Larry