Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunday of Easter
5th Sunday of Easter
"Be Attached: Proclaim and Do!"
15:1* ¶ “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser.
2* Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3* You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4* Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5* I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6* If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7* If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8* By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. RSV
Grace and Peace to your from Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
’Chaplain Ernst Gordon in his book "Through the Valley of the Quai" tells of the hardship prisoners of War during World War II as they were imprisoned by the Japanese army. These men wrote Chaplain Gordon were reduced to skeletons, riddled with disease, and the only way they could survive was by the law of the jungle,everyman for himself. They hated, the cursed, they stole; they watched one another die and looked forward to death as their only means of escape.
A few prisoners decided this was not the way they wanted, to live. They began to study their Bibles, they would offer prayer for the dying, and the atmosphere began to change in that prison. Eventually, a worship center was built, and many of the men began to come to worship. This reawakening of faith effected a miraculous change. in the morale or the prisoners. Instead of living by the law of the jungle, every man for himself, men were now willing to help another, care for one another, to love one another Chaplain Jordon writes, "This Church of the Spirit which the worship center was called, was the throbbing heart which gave life to the camp and transformed it in considerable measure from a mass of frightened individuals into a caring community. From this renewal, we received, the inspiration that made life possible. This inspiration was not a Polly-Anna view of life, but a realistic view which says life is more than the animal instinct to survive it is a noble life, where men are seen as people who have self-worth inspire of the circumstances of life. The Spirit of God, gave to these men the strength to live, to care, to love, but not from mere physical endurance, from the inner strength which believes and trusts that somehow in spite of all the pain,God is there."
The miracle of life, the dignity of self-worth, the importance of the human life became apparent again in that prison camp when the men realized who they were, children of God thus attached themselves to God’s Spirit again through prayer, through Bible Study, and through worship. As Jesus says in our gospel lesson,"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." Our story of the prison camp underscores this statement of Jesus, once the men where in Christ, they were able to bear fruit, to be the kinds of men Jesus has called us all to be.
Jesus is using a story from his day to make a point about being attached to him, being in the body of Christ
being in the community of believer. Jesus is saying the only way for the branches of the vine to grow is to be attached
to the vine, attached to the main part. It is from the main part of the vine that the branches get its food, its strength, its nourishment to grow and bear fruit.
And Jesus is saying so it is with you who belong to the body of Christ. The only way you can bear fruit, the only way you can stay alive is to be attached to the body, to the church, to the worship life, to the good news of Christ which is proclaimed each Sunday.
Maybe a picture from today’s garden will help us to understand what Jesus.is saying. Last summer I grew some cucumbers. As they grew the branches began to grow a long distance from the vine. Then little flowers, then