I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. John 15
Did you see that sign that says, “Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet Him.”
Every time you see someone flip open their phone or fire up Call of Duty multiplayer or post their daily activities on Facebook, you are seeing someone longing for connection.
Longing for relationship.
Longing for someone, anyone, to care.
We hide behind our screens pretending
We are these cool, interesting people,
When we are all, every one of us, looking
For, well, friends.
We are created to need each other.
There is inside us a longing
To be accepted and understood and “liked” and loved.
There’s just one problem.
People can “like” you on facebook.
People can “friend” you or email you or text you.
People can connect to you in person, hang out, go out,
Be part of your bridge club, hug you, kiss you, marry you.
You can have five hundred friends.
But every one of them will, one day, hurt you.
I have a few weddings coming up that I’ve agreed to perform, conduct, I don’t know what you call it.
And I’ve been thinking about it, and there’s only one thing I know, really know, about the wedding vows that will be spoken:
I, Marianne, take you, Dan, to be my husband.
And I promise to be your loving and faithful wife.
In plenty and in want.
In sickness and in health.
In joy and in sorrow.
As long as we both shall live.
Only one thing I know and that is this: those vows will be broken.
Even if these couples are married fifty years, as I hope I am blessed enough to be,
I will not be loving and faithful every moment, every day.
I’ve been married five years and already I haven’t lived up to that promise. I’ve had mean thoughts and said mean words.
If I believed in the goodness of humanity and nothing more,
If the bedrock of my life were my friends or my family and their love,
If the vine to which I was connected was the vine of my social network or my club or even my country,
I know my life would fall apart.
In John 15 Jesus says I am the vine, you are the branches.
Apart from me you can do nothing.
Cut off a branch and the vine will keep growing.
But cut off a branch and that branch will die.
Jesus is taking the metaphor the prophets used
Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel
The metaphor of Israel as the vine God is tending
Instead Jesus says that he himself is the vine
And unless we abide in him we can do nothing.
Abide in him.
Jesus does not say, unless you believe in me.
Jesus does not say, unless you obey me.
Jesus does not say, unless you accept me.
Jesus says, unless you abide in me, you can do nothing.
Is he talking about that r-word?
That sticky, scary, serious word that implies we must be susceptible, we must be vulnerable to another person?
I mean, what would it be like to actually abide in Christ?
How would we think?
How would we feel?
How would we act?
Living closely connected to the Spirit of Christ,
Suffused with energy and power and truth
We would be really alive
Vital and growing
Calm and knowing
We are fully known
Living every day feeling love that will never fail
Living every day knowing that someone knows, and someone cares.
All around us, people are seeking, people are searching,
Texting and tweeting and trying to connect with something real
With someone who is real.
So why are people plugging into a cold dead wire when the green, living vine is right before them?
I, I, I I need some inspiration
I’ve been drained by this iPad iPhone iPod existence
I need to talk to someone who breathes, has parents, and wasn’t created in a factory. No, this is not my rant against technology, I just miss people. You know,
Real people who let their souls guide their emotions,
Unmediated by a text or an email.
This colossal e-fail!
Humans have become frail because we hide behind screens
And make passive aggressive statements and then add l-o-l
o-l-o-l I’m not laughing
especially not out loud, I want to speak to a crowd
something like this where the only separation
is that you might not know me. But we can change that.
I want you to see my voice tremble when I begin to leave my heart on the stage
And the memories of my past begin to spill over my lips
And I fight my vulnerability
Because this is who I was called to be. You see, God CALLED me.
I’m so happy it wasn’t a text
I wouldn’t have been able to hear the tone in His voice
And there was no colon or parenthese but I know
He smiled. And I know
I’m His child. There was no eVite but I RSVPd for this.
This is my purpose. I just recently decided to show up for life. I’ve spent
Too much time on facebook but I’m face to face with you so now look
I’m no longer looking for God.
I coulda IMd him but I’m not sure it would have meant as much.
Sometimes we’re out of touch and our expectations expect too much
We make mistakes, and there’s no delete or backspace
But God lets us cut and paste.
Because there are many drafts before this is perfect.
So this is my Word process.
My progress past opinions in prayer
Although we can’t Skype God I know you’re there.
So I’ll remember to “save as”
And I won’t bypass how I feel.
I’ve logged on to my life, downloaded my future,
Uploaded the miracle of me.
See you might see see see typos
But my Father sees potential.
We might have to restart sometimes,
But it’s better than shutting down
We can always upgrade and update.
Please don’t close this window, trust me, it will be worth the wait.
The newest version of you is better than any previous state.
God clears histories, toolbars, and empties caches
His mercies are new every day,
So this is my PowerPoint:
That we excel mediocrity,
And don’t let them computerize and digitize your humanity.
You are more than a login and a password.
So pass the Word.
That even the Word became flesh.
God knew that is best.
Had to be more than a text.
Someone who was IN PERSON and for real.
Someone who feels what we feel.
Never believe that IT is a substitute for intimacy.
Because people still need people, and people still need God.
~iGod by Tia Nache
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.