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A Sermon by The Rev’d Joan Claring-Bould
I am the vine, you are the branches… No branch can bear fruit by itself.
There are many situations in our lives when things seem confusing and out of our control. Some problems are easier to talk to friends and colleagues about than others. We all know in principle that talking to appropriate people about difficulties, is a useful way of reducing stress. But there are times when burning issues leave us with a sense of isolation, compounded by natural feelings like fear, anger and resentment.
Tonight’s gospel reading is a reminder to us that we are never alone. It is a reminder that the joy, peace, hope and new life we seek comes from the source of all goodness and healing. Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches”. Any fruit you bear is a consequence of your growing out of me.
But when they were in a dark place, even the saints have found that their pleading to God seemed to go unanswered. I suspect that we have all engaged in that sort of prayer when we have felt desparate knowing God is the only one who could bring us a sense of hope.
There is nothing wrong with that. God hears our cries and weeps with us.
I have found that often it is when I have exhausted myself with weeping and pleading, that it is in the “still small voice of calm” that I experience the reality of God’s presence, and can then trust again, that in God’s hands “all shall be well”.
It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy, but it does mean that we are not alone. We are not only grown out of God the vine, but we are part of the network of branches, which God has given us to be a mutual support an encouragement to each other.
That is why we have the church – imperfect though it is – Christ’s body on earth – striving to live out the gospel of love and forgiveness, peace and hope founded on the dying and rising of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
Jesus tells us, “Don’t be afraid, My Love is greater than your fear”.
Christ is risen Alleluia!