Emily Rose of Orange, CA, USA
“I 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. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. -John 15:1-8
When I was nine years old or so, I learned that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Better still, I learned that plants take that carbon dioxide, use it to make their own food, and release oxygen into the air-oxygen for us to breathe! This was an amazing discovery for me, and I immediately started exhaling directly on the leaves of the plants in our back yard. In my nine-year-old mind, it was my way of thanking and taking care of the plants.
Today’s scripture points to our interconnectedness. Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you…I am the vine, you are the branches” (vv. 4-5). Vines bring nutrients from the earth to the branches of the plant. Branches make food for the plant in the leaves, and they are connected to each other through the vine. We are woven together, inextricably linked to each other and to the Holy. We bear fruit when we remember that we belong to each other.
In this continuing season of Easter, our lectionary calendar has brought us back to Jesus’ final words to the disciples before his arrest. When we read this passage through the lens of Easter, we already know how the story ends. We are invited to abide in Christ as Christ abides in us today. We are connected like the vine and the branches. Just as our breathing connects us to the trees, we are intertwined with all that is. To bear fruit is to live as Easter people, remembering to abide in Christ while recognizing Christ in each other.
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.