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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

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.

Any Movements Religious or otherwise that have new ideas and identities that challenge the status quo can be found frightening by those who fear what is new or rather those who fear a challenge to their authority and are closed to where God is leading them and in our own time many are closed to the idea of  a new way of life hat is our Christian Faith .  It was the same in the first days of the church The followers of the way was the name that the first Christians were known by and feeling  was that they were a threatening group because of the newness of their idea.  They believed that their leader, Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, was risen from the dead. All these years later we believe in Jesus who has risen from the dead and  we believe in the message of Jesus passed down to us right from the very time of the resurrection to ourselves through every generation right down to us in the here and now of 2012. The promise of Jesus, the Vine, the Gate, the Light, is abundant life here and now, and in eternity. Our heavenly Father is doing more in our lives than any of us are aware, but the trick is to let God do what God needs to do and for us to try our best to be part of it and everything else will fall into place. We pray in the days ahead that we won’t be afraid of being pruned back by Jesus the Vinedresser in order to move forward with the confidence that comes from knowing that we have faith in one another and more importantly faith in God.
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