by Debbonnaire Kovacs

In John 15, Jesus tells his disciples that they need to abide in him the way branches live in a grapevine. We've been discussing and arguing and analyzing what that means ever since. We check ourselves, check each other, check our actions, and check the church manual. We make sermons and songs and blog posts about abiding.

Most of all, we try to be sure we're doing it. Doing it right. Whatever it is. We look for fruit. That should tell us. He said if we abide, we produce fruit. Well, what is fruit? Good works? Converts? Proselytes?

Here's my two-cents' worth. True abiding is invisible, and subject to the Heisenberg principle. If you can look at it, it's not there. (My own slightly tilted definition.) A baby at its mother's breast has no idea there's a mommy and a me and what's flowing between us and wrapped around me is love and it's making me grow.

It just grows.

A branch on a tree doesn't have a clue that there's a tree and a trunk and a cambium layer and water and sunshine and air. It doesn't even know there are apples.

It just makes them.

I am above all things a discussing, arguing, analyzing checker. I couldn't possibly recommend that we quit that. So maybe we should give our busy little brains other things to discuss, argue, analyze, and check. Maybe the nature of Christ, or the history of religion, or Hebrew dualism or Greek verb tenses. Yeah, that ought to keep us occupied. In the meantime, we can be silently, constantly, almost unconsciously twining tendrils of our being into God's heart. Or, more likely, God can be twisting tendrils into ours.

We'll be abiding. Someday we'll get close enough to look the Vine and the Vinedresser in the face and hear the words, "Fruit! Good job!"

We'll be astonished. And we'll be one with the One.