Archive for March 20th, 2007

Water for Dry Branches

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 15:1-11 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

Do you ever feel like a dry branch? Does your life ever feel fruitless? Do you even wonder, sometimes, if the world would be better off without you?

Jesus’ description of fruitless branches being gathered up and thrown into the fire can be terrifying for those of us already questioning our usefulness. For some of us it’s an affirmation of our deepest fears about ourselves. For others, it gives us a jolt of panic as we scramble to look busy — we think maybe God won’t notice how dry we really are as long as we’re singing in the choir and volunteering with the homeless shelter.

But God isn’t an angry boss looking for someone to fire (literally). And Jesus didn’t say these things to frighten us or reinforce our low self-esteem. As Jesus said, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.”

Jesus was trying to give us the key to vibrant life, offering us living water, because he knew how many of us feel like dry branches. The key to vibrant life, according to Jesus, is to remain in him by keeping his commandments.

This reminds me of another Scripture where people feel like dry branches. In Isaiah 56:3, God says, “Do not let the eunuch say, ‘I am just a dry tree.’” God then goes on to say that eunuchs who keep God’s commandments will be given a house in God’s realm, and a name better than sons and daughters.

So what are these commandments that can give us complete joy, a sense of purpose, a secure home with God, and a feeling of being part of the family? In the passage immediately following today’s reading, Jesus says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Thought for the day: The best cure for a feeling of spiritual dryness, is to give oneself away in love.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: all of the volunteers who work to keep Jesus MCC’s building and grounds looking good and in good repair: The Board of Trustees, the Mowing Team, the Gardening Team, and the Temple Keepers.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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