Viña Santa Rita in Chile's Maipo Valley
This summer, Incarnation families are gathering weekly at Alcova Heights Park, or at home, or in another lovely natural spot for a relaxed time of family prayer and nature exploration—read this post for a quick primer. Here's this Sunday’s wonder-worthy scripture:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
Nature focus: vines
This week we're looking at another name for Jesus, another way for us to learn more and more about Him. Jesus said “I am the true vine. You are the branches.” Let’s look at vines and see what it tells us about us and Jesus. How close are we to Jesus? If people want to see the True Vine, what are they looking at?
Wonder All Week:
Is there food in your kitchen that grew on a vine? Explore together to find any vines around your home. (For example, we came home to find our clematis doing really well on the deck railing after all the rain. We also discovered a volunteer cantaloupe vine in a strange spot; maybe someone spat out seeds last year??)
For older kids (6+), further discussion on John 15:
Jesus says, “My Father is the vinedresser.” What’s the work of a gardener or vinedresser? [providing support for the vine; good soil, sun, water; addressing difficulties like bugs; pruning; nurturing sometimes for years before the vine bears fruit!; knowing when to prune, when to harvest . . . ] What does this tell us about what God is doing?
Think about the life-giving sap that flows through the vine. Like the blood in our circulatory system, it delivers oxygen and takes away carbon dioxide. What’s the sap that flows through the True Vine to give us good gifts and take away what’s no longer needed?
Jesus says “remain” (or abide) ten times in this parable, so we know it’s important! As the branches, how do we remain in the True Vine? What helps me remain? Where do I feel close to Jesus?
Jesus says “bear fruit” five times. He says if you remain, you’ll bear fruit. What’s the fruit of the True Vine?
When we see a beautiful garden, we might say “Wow!” to the gardener . . . not to the plants. Remaining and bearing fruit is a way to give glory to God. At the end, Jesus says, “You give glory to God, the vinedresser.”