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  • Writer's pictureMinister Jamie Seales

The Real Vine

Excerpts from Minister Jamie's sermon on April 28:


One Dolly-ism that is widely circulated and well known is, “it costs a lot of money to look this cheap”. In our English language we struggle with subtlety. That Dolly-ism isn't fake. What may appear to be totally artificial comes from a very real place.

 

There is a big difference between cheap and fake. Cheap is inexpensive in relation to its value. Fake is not real. A fake flower doesn't grow. It doesn't produce new buds. It was never really alive. Be a real flower. One that has a sweet aroma. One that is rooted, connected to roots and systems and real life.

 

We are identified by what we wear. It is very common to ask folks at award shows, “what are you wearing?” The other night I went to see some bluegrass, and one of the rising bluegrass musicians recently won a Grammy and decided he wanted to take his dad with him to the ceremony. They asked his dad, “what are you wearing?” Was it Gucci or Prada? He responded, “Levi”. He was trying to say he is an everyday down to earth kind of guy. We, too, are identified by how we appear. It is important that when folks look at us, they see love.

 

How do we naturally and organically grow in love? We have to be rooted and planted in the True Vine, abide in the Vine… a deep abiding love that lures us deeper and deeper into a real authentic and fruitful life.

 

We are in John's gospel again today. As we have moved through John we read lots of “I AM” statements. Jesus says:


I am the Light of the World

I am the Bread of Life

I am the Water of Life

I am the Door

I am the Way

I am the Good Shepherd

 

Today Jesus declares “I am the True Vine”.

 

What is the importance of "I AM"...? God is always God. God always is. Each and every moment , God is. Never a has-been, God is always active and involved in our lives.


Put another way, we understand the statement in exodus as, “I am who I am.” The relationship between the two is not obvious. If you plant a rose bush, you will get a rose. The Rose comes as a result of what the rose Bush is. Its natural product is roses. 


So God will be what God will be because God always acts out of what God is in each and every moment. It is this understanding that must shape how we see Jesus declaring, “I am the True Vine.” As those who are rooted in the True Vine there is a natural product that we are called to produce. Love. Love is what comes as a result of abiding in God's love. Being deeply rooted in the Tue Vine. This applies to both individual life and our communal life here at holy T. We look inside ourselves and see what is not fresh, that which is not bearing fruit, and we trim it away.


The other day I was leading a Bible study at an assisted living facility. This lady looked at me in tears. She said, "I had a stroke two weeks ago. I have been thinking my life is over. My life isn't over. It just looks different."

When life cuts us or alters our course we must abide in God's love. This love nourishes us. It causes us to recognize that we must trim away that which is not allowing for new growth. New limbs can be grafted onto old trees. No doubt we need a mix of old and new. Looking inside ourselves, what can we change to better abide in God's love?  How can we as a church better abide in God's love? We all want to bear fruit. We must remain trusting that we are connected to the True Vine and this vine is always acting in and through what we do. We remember not to go for counterfeit.


I will close with the lyrics of the Billy strings song, Dig a Little Deeper (In the Well):


Well, you need a good cool drink of water

You better dig a little deeper in the well

Well, my papa used to tell me, "Don't be fooled by things you see

If you wanna get at the heart of things, you gotta dig way down deep


Lord help us to dig deeper so that we love bigger and better.



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