remain in the vine… remain in Christ’s love…

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15

IMG_1295Because I’m a writer, I spend a huge amount of my time thinking. Or maybe it’s the other way around; maybe it’s because I spend such a lot of time thinking that I write.

Regardless of the sequencing, the truth is that I am very much a contemplative. Sometimes, though, I get caught in loops and circles, and I find that I need to interrupt my focus and become more concerned with what’s happening outside my head in the real world. When I forget to engage the life that’s around me, then my contemplation is deprived of nourishment and it dries up.

I think faith is a lot like this. We can love God, we can pray, we can study the scriptures, and we can enjoy the warm truth of God’s love in our personal lives. But it’s critically important to our faith that we gather with other believers, that we engage in public worship, and that we take God’s love into the world.

More than a good vibe:

It’s not just that I am encouraged by my brothers and sisters, it’s that the life Christ offers finds its real meaning in the context of community. When I go to church, the community doesn’t only give my faith a boost, it gives believing the substance and the nourishment that it needs.

Listen to the words of Jesus: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you…” (John 15)

We cannot love that way in isolation. We need each other. We need to look out, to reach out, and to live out…

This morning, Rebekah and I will be in worship, in church, we will be “remaining” in the Body of Christ. The community of believers is not a “take it or leave it” element of Christian faith, I believe The Church is critical to what it means to follow Jesus.

So be there! Let your faith take root.

– DEREK

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