You know how it is when you buy a new car, everywhere you look you see the same exact thing?
Well, we haven’t bought a new car, but my sister in law and her husband did. They recently purchased a Nissan ‘Leaf’ and can’t stop singing it’s praises. While they are visiting us for a couple of weeks, we are noticing wherever we go there’s another Leaf.
My sister in law is quite evangelistic about the whole electric car idea—“why, we’ll never have to buy gas again!”—and welcomes the chance to chat with any other electric car owner she meets, grocery store parking lots included.
I feel that way about the idea of abiding and pruning. Ever since I started meditating on John 15 with the Do Not Depart online community, it seems the words are popping up everywhere.
Almost like there’s a Divine Librarian (as LL Barkat said in God in the Yard**) Who’s in charge of what I read and hear.
Well, actually, I’m sure there is. (A divine librarian, I mean).
Along with memorizing John 15, the words the Holy Spirit keeps resonating in other places are:
- Abide and Dwell
- Vine and Fruit
- Prune (or clean)
- and the idea that God sings over me………so, ‘singing’ and ‘song’ have jumped off the pages as well.
Whether it’s a message from my pastor or the friend I hear preach while I’m on vacation, the devotional I pick up, or a book on Song of Solomon, a Bible Study I attend out of town, ALL of these words are ‘sacred echoes’ (as Margaret Feinberg calls them) of God’s word to me through the Holy Spirit.
So what about abiding and dwelling, anyway? How do I DO that? If Jesus says in order to bear fruit and be joyful I need to live there(abide), can I just think happy, positive thoughts to make it happen?
Uh, no. Vines and branches coexist, but Jesus is The Vine, I’m only a branch. The nourishment I need comes from him—how? By ‘feeding’ on God’s Word, my daily bread. Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life for a reason.
So I’m feeding and reading as often as I can.
And the ‘pruning’ part? (In the original language, the word ‘prune’ is ‘clean’ or ‘cleanses.’ Well, that’s interesting.) In verse 3 of John 15, Jesus says ‘already you are clean.’ Already. (That helps me relax a bit, ya know?)
I’ve tended to think of pruning as a painful process to get rid of the ‘not-God’ stuff in my life. But the way I read this, Jesus says, I’m already clean “because of the word that I have spoken to you.”
His word is washing me and has made me clean.
And then there’s the singing.
In Song of Solomon, the book of God’s love towards us his church, His Bride, we read:
10 My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one
and come away,for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth,