Different Christianity Different Fruit, Part 1

Different Christianity Different Fruit, Part 1 April 23, 2024


Our reading this week is from the gospel of John.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

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“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)

This week’s saying belongs to a series of “I am” statements from the Johannine community. These sayings use various metaphors through which to imagine Jesus’ life work:

The bread of life (John 6)

The light of the world (John 8)

The pre-existent “I am” (John 8)

The good shepherd (John 10)

The resurrection and life (John 11)

The way, the truth, and the life (John 14)

The true vine (John 15)

Our reading this week is the last of these statements, about the true vine.

I want to talk about producing fruit in the Jesus story carefully. Today, we live in a social, political and economic context of global capitalism where producing fruit drives a wealthy class who profit off the never-ceasing labor and production of the working class. In this context we are taught that we are somehow less-than if we aren’t constantly producing. 

But you’re not less important if you produce less than others. It’s also okay to take a break. There is a time and place for producing and there is a time and place for just being. Too often the constant push to be producing, which most of the time profits others than ourselves, falls out of balance and our mental health and the quality of our lives suffer as a result. 

This week’s saying is about producing fruit, yes. And I would argue that it’s about producing a certain kind of fruit rather than the capitalist drive to always produce ever-increasing amounts of fruit for an unsustainable economy dependent upon never-ending growth. There has to be an ebb and flow, production and rest/recreation, not always producing.

We’ll begin taking a look at that those kinds of fruit are, next.

(Read Part 2)


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About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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