Monday, 4 May 2015

Maturing like Jesus

I was listening to the Gospel reading at the early morning service in Launde Abbey yesterday morning.
Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more." (John 15.1-2)
I've heard the passage many times before, but only on this reading did it strike me that in the first couple of verses Jesus is talking about himself. Later in the passage all that pruning, cleaning, grafting - it's all about the disciples, about us. But here Jesus is saying that the Father prunes him, cuts away what is unfruitful, tends what is starting to mature.

I find that striking.

A few years ago, someone said to me, "if all this stuff we teach about contemplative prayer is true - the whole story of an ever deepening journey into intimacy with God, through dark nights and growing illumination of the soul - then it should also be visible in the life of Jesus too. Not the reorientation away from sin, but the sense of process, of growth." I've been looking for that in the Gospels ever since. And when you're looking out for it, you find it pretty quickly. Jesus' growing sense of identity and mission. His questioning of the Father. And perhaps here, in John 15, Jesus talking about his experience of that process.

Image: Kayyab3 via Wikimedia Commons