As we travel deeper into the Easter mystery in these last weeks of the Eastertide, we are offered the images that Jesus gives us for himself, and our relationship with him – helping us to recognise that the resurrection is not just an historic event we say we believe, but the power of new life given to us so we can flourish and be fruitful now in the confidence that his life is stronger than death.
Today’s image is that of Jesus the true vine, and us as branches bearing fruit which the Father prunes to bring greater abundance. As I will explore in my sermon, this image invites us to notice how we are kept in life by God and in relationship with Jesus: all is gift, we do not keep ourselves in being, and to notice that we are the glory of God when we bear fruit in our lives, and God is a pruning vinegrower for this purpose: sometimes there is a calling to let go of things in order for our energy to be carefully directed at what is essential for fruit. In this spirit, the virtues that shape the vision for the Church of England in the coming decade are that we become a: simpler, humbler, bolder church.
As we turn towards the celebration of Pentecost, later this month, it is a good time to reflect on what each of us needs to let go of now, to make space for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, helping us to bear God’s fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.