My father died seven years ago, my mother, two years later. Like you, I’ve “lost” other friends and family. Grieving and alone, we comfort ourselves with, “They’re still with us in spirit.” How do you abide with or stay close to someone who’s gone? Death is final. We’re left alone.

One death was different.

Washing the dust and grit from the feet of his closest friends, he explored each puzzled face, predicting one would betray him for a few filthy coins and another would deny their special friendship.
In that private meeting room that day, Jesus assured his disciples of his resolute love for them while demanding their love for each other. Sharing wine and bread with them, he announced that this, his final journey, would soon end on a Roman cross.

Comforting his stunned disciples, Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. I’ve got your back — and your future. Come. I have something to show you.” Since he relished telling stories, Jesus took them to a vineyard and painted this picture: “I am the true vine, you are the branches, my Father is the gardener.”
“When a branch stops sucking life-giving sap from the vine, it withers. So abide in me.” Huh? “A vine bears fruit, right? Remember my words and obey them, reflect on my love and love each other, and you will bear fruit. I am going away, but if you abide in me (remembering, reflecting, praying), you will produce the fruit of character for stormy days ahead.”

Shortly thereafter, Jesus died. Three days later, he physically rose again. He lives today, still present in us through his Spirit. Are you a branch connected to that Vine? Do you read and reflect on his words? Do you listen in prayer? Learn to abide in Jesus and do it today.

Pastor Don L. Pahl

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