“I am the vine, remain in me and you will bear fruit.”
I used to think these words of Jesus in John’s gospel were a simple admonishment to stay in a close relationship to God through prayer. As I have aged and been challenged to grow beyond my Baltimore Catechism approach to prayer as a child, I have realized that the words “remain in me” have much more depth than a call to a simple supplication or prayer of praise.
I am one with God. I am also one with my brother and sister “branches on the vine.” (The elderly, very sweet woman sitting next to me in my wife’s physician’s waiting room just reminded me of this fact by loudly asking “What are you doing with that thing? What are you writing? I like to write too!”)
Being one with God, remaining in God, requires me now to set aside all my old constructs. God is no longer my own creation of an old, benevolent white guy on a throne. God is not out there, up there or over there. I remain in God. We are one thanks to my baptism in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As Paul writes, I no longer live, Christ lives in me.
My reflection today once more leaves me with a question. How do I remain in God? It seems like any reflection on the words of Jesus leaves me more to think about. This is good.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of the Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.