D uring this post Easter season the fourth Gospel presents us with a number of metaphors to describe the relationship between God the Father, Jesus Christ and ourselves. It is a relationship which was revealed through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Last week the metaphor was about the “Good Shepherd”. This week it is about the “Vine and the Branches”.

A vine and its branches are worth contemplating. All around us there are leaves that have fallen from the trees. In autumn that is natures’ way of pruning trees. Nature makes room for new leaves. Nevertheless, a vine-grower knows that failure to prune back a vine to its stem will result in new leaves but no fruit. A vine must be pruned back to its stem if it is to produce new fruit next spring. Hence, the metaphor of the vine and the branches is a powerful metaphor indeed.

We who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus and marvel at the implications of this belief are presented with a real challenge on this fifth Sunday of the Easter Season. We are challenged to keep the Easter message very much alive in our hearts and minds. We are invited to “prune” away any distractions in our minds and hearts so that the Easter message might bear fruit every day of our lives.

We are invited to sever any fears we have about death. We are invited to cut away any old hatreds in our hearts. We are asked to remove from ourselves any old feelings, habits or tendencies that inhibit the new life that is in us because of the Easter event. Easter is not over it is capable of being relived every day.

Rev Fr Tom Stevens