I am the vine and 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.
Grafted into Jesus. This is about a relationship. And we have seen it begin today. Matilda is baptised, joined to Christ. Now, according to the promise, the Holy Spirit brings the wonderful gifts of God to her and all the baptised to sustain us in the Christian life that we live for those around us to the glory of God. The Holy Spirit is that sap from the vine that provides the branches with the nutrients to produce good fruit.
Baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity she is, according to His Word, a child of the Father, united to Jesus the vine, and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Now God has declared this, yet where do we see it? Where does God promise to sustain Matilda and all His baptised children? It is where His Word is spoken, where His Word is heard and received. In the gathering of Christians for mutual encouragement around His Word, our common confession summarised in the Creed. In the prayers of Christians, long and short, crystalised in Our Lord’s Prayer. In the living out of Christ’s victory, living in the freedom of the Ten Commandments and all their gifts. And of course, we can’t forget the wine of the vine, Holy Communion, Christ’s Most Holy Body and Blood. That’s the small Catechism, and that’s this Divine Service.
It is here, that we remain with Him, make our home in Him and He in us; where we are refreshed together in our mutual relationship. It is here, where He has promised to cleanse us by His Word, ‘I forgive you’. It is here, where we are prepared for the Good Works God has prepared for us to walk in our lives ahead; the fruit of the vine. And as He says, ‘if you remain in me and my words remain in you ask whatever and it will be done’.
Yet we so often forget Jesus’ words, sometimes ignore them, sometimes replace them, but so often His words do not remain in us. So a question we can ask anytime, what do you spend your time thinking about? Debts? Family issues? A TV series? Who do you listen to? Whose words remain in you and keeps coming back? To ask the same thing, in your thoughts, words and deeds, what and who do you worship? …
And how can we receive again Jesus’ words? Receive again His love? How can our relationship be restored? Like coming home to your family or friends, by returning and listening again, prayer, confession, and meditation on His Words, and sharing His Holy Meal.
So pray that, not only the Holy Spirit grants what you need, but also that we abide in Him and He in us.
And the peace that passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now to life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.