In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus sounds like he is playing a game with us.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
A vine is a kind of plant. It grows out of the earth. If we play this game, where should Jesus stand? He is the vine, growing up out of the earth. Let's have him stand right in the middle of us.
Jesus says we are the branches, so where should we be? The life of the vine is carried in the branches. We have to make sure part of us is touching Jesus, then. If we let go, we will not be part of the vine. As the branches grow, they twist and curl, but they always stay connected. How will we grow? Will we grow wrapped tightly around Jesus? Will we grow out into the world, but always touching him?
It sounds like Jesus is playing, and it is important. He says,
Abide in me as I abide in you.
Abide is a new word for us. It means to make a home. A home is where we live, where we eat, where we sleep. The word "Abide" looks like it has a bed in it! Our home is where our family is.
Jesus says that he abides in us. We are his family. He makes his home in us! How does this happen?
When we are baptized, water filled with his Holy Spirit is poured over us. We are given a candle, lit from the great Paschal candle--the sign of Jesus' Risen life is given to us!
But the candle that we were given at our Baptism is not lit now. It is probably in a box, or on a shelf. Do we still have Jesus' light? Oh, yes. Jesus says he abides in us. We carry his light within us. Jesus makes his home inside of us. He is safe with us, and we are safe with him.