Fifth Sunday of Easter
Here we are at the 5th Sunday of Easter soon we will come to Ascension(Jesus returning to the Father) and then the end of the 50 days of the Easter season at Pentecost(The coming of the Holy Spirit sometimes called the Holy Ghost). The Gospel reading for this Sunday speaks of Jesus as the Vine Dresser. The image of “vine”, “vine grower”, and “branch” is a tactile as well as visual aid. We are the receivers of life and the producers of “fruit” that is spiritual fruit. This image of the people of God as “God’s vineyard” is a very old one, going back to the Jewish psalms, as well as other places in the Old Testament. Listen to part of Psalm 80: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.” Again, notice that it is God who is doing all the planting here, not us. And think of all the other I AM statements found in the Gospel of John: “I AM the light of the world,” “I AM the gate,” “I AM the resurrection and the life.” The “Grower” is pictured as the One Who trims away those who have refused their identity as branches that is members of the church; perhaps they want to be the “vine” themselves. By the choices that they might make they are lost to the process of bringing life and nourishment through Christ, into this world. The Trimmer is seen to prune the branches so that even more fruit may grow. I do not like hearing this, because I do not like being shaped up. Many of us have many things that we do not want others to really know about, there are many lumps and bumps in our lives but we all need to remember that god loves us just as we are with all the things good and bad that are part and parcel of us and our lives.