John 15:1-9 (CEB)

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper.

2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 

3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.
6 If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.
9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love.
John 15:5 (CEB)
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.  

DEVOTION – Pamela Hawkins (Tennessee)

I first noticed the little branch after a harsh night storm.  Bent down

in an awkward position, it caught my eye during morning prayer as I looked out my bedroom window.  Other branches reached out and up toward the sky, strong and unscathed.  But this one slender branch dangled toward the ground – damaged but not detached from the tree.

I was surprised to see this little bent-down branch still hanging there the next morning.  I had expected it to drop to the ground, but there it was – still dangling and vulnerable.  The same was true the next day and the next.  Watching this damaged branch became part of my morning prayer for the season of Lent.  No matter what storm blew through, the branch clung to the life-source of the tree.

How like that branch I often am – bent down and vulnerable to life’s storms!  And like the branch, I cling to Christ, my life-source, trusting that even when I am “hanging on by a thread,”  Christ will cling to me as well.  My wounded, fragile, and awkward self will always be connected to Christ.  In our reading today, Jesus says,”  I am the vine; you are the branched.  If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit.  Without me, you can’t do anything” (v.5).  In Christ there is life that holds on to and remains in us at all times.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Jesus’ presence sustains and strengthens us.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to cling to you throughout the storms of life.  Thank you for the peace you offer us.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SOMEONESTARTING A NEW LENTEN DISCIPLINE

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