I am the vine, you are the branches
SERMON – 10.15am, Emmanuel Church, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Sunday 10th May 2009 (Family Service)
Revd. Canon David Pickering
John 15.8I am the vine, you are the branches
A vine is a tree with long gangling branches.
It puts out branches, which have to be pruned so that bunches of grapes will grow, develop and ripen.
A vine will have lots of branches.
How many branches on the tree that you have drawn?
Give me the answer in a moment.
Jesus said, in verse one of our reading this morning, I am the true vine, and in verse five he adds another idea when he says, I am the vine, you are the branches.
Some may remember what Robert Martin said last week about the Good Shepherd. That the Good was not a moral value, but that the word meant Jesus was and is the genuine and ideal shepherd. He sets the pattern for all shepherding.
We have similar thought this week with Jesus being the true vine. Jesus is the full and fruitful vine. In his life and ministry we see the full fruit of goodness and love. But what is more we are called and invited to be part of that same true vine.
And we could go on to reflect on how we should be producing the fruits of goodness, love justice etc, but I'd like to turn in another direction and just stick with branches.
Have the children counted their branches?
Some have ten branches, others around twenty, and some too many to count. No matter how many there are they are all linked together. All the branches are joined together because they all stem from the same root or trunk of the tree.
If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches then we are all joined together with everyone one else in the world. We have a relationship with each and every one of them.
Today we are observing and I hope even celebrating Fairtrade Sunday.
Two thoughts that go together;
a) everyone invited to be a branch, every single person in the world counts with God. We are all important to God. He has the same love for everyone.
b) The creation story in the book of Genesis says that we human beings are made in the image of God.
What does this mean in terms of Fairtrade?
First it means that the work and labour of every single human being is important to God, and so should be important to us. This means we should appreciate and value the work that others do and make sure they receive a fair and just reward. Everyone is entitled to be paid a fair price for their work and labour. This is Fairtrade.
Secondly because we are made in the image of God, then when we are treating others fairly for what they produce for us, then we are also doing it for and to God. We are serving him in them.
Fairtrade is part of our worship, part of the worth that we give and express to God.
Fairtrade goods may cost us a little more, but that only highlights how there is injustice in the world, and God is calling us to do something about it so that we can be right with him as well as with our fellow human beings.