Don't be a stick

Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc

I’ve been a minister to youth for more than 20 years. Several years ago I was part of a group talking about this week’s Bible reading from John 15:1-8 – the one with the vine and the branches. I was pointing out how branches do what they do – they bear fruit. They do it because it is . . . just what they do.

We talked further about the part that says “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” I asked, “What’s a branch when it’s not part of the vine?”

“It’s a stick.”

We talked even further, discussing how since we are branches on the vine of God’s love, we aren’t sticks. We even talked (probably remembering the Bible reading that we talked about here last week, John 10:1-11-18, that we are one flock – no exceptions – EVERYONE enfolded in God’s love.

But that part in this week’s reading about whoever not abiding in Jesus being thrown away crept right into the conversation. There was (and continues to be) a tension between the presence of God’s unconditional and unending love and this stick burning stuff.

We didn’t ease the tension or figure it all out. I still haven’t either. What did we say about it?

“Don’t Be a Stick.”

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

GWiley said...

Although we are all one flock and God loves us all, we do have the free will to cut ourselves off from that love, rejecting God. Thus being a stick. Like you can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink, God offers us his love but he can't make us take it.

An example, In my house, my roommate could stay if he would just lay off the booze and accept my friendship and care. Even though I love him and care for him, he is rejecting my freindship and care and so he must leave.

God isn't going to force us to follow him or accept his love. That is a decision we must make on our own. We can be a branch or we can be a stick. God still loves us, the offer is still there and will never be withdrawn.