How then would we read and teach these verses?


What if …

God just wants us to be happy? Just wants us to feel loved? Wants us to be the true and real “us”? What if being a disciple is not a to-do-list – but a release from every to-do-list ever? What if unconditional love is the goal, the objective, the finishing line?

What if love is a virus that spreads as viruses do? What if unconditional love is an unstoppable “super virus”? What if love without condition permeated every cell of everybody in everything and everywhere?

What if it does already – but we have taught and preached the cure?  That we teach and preach a rule-book and in so doing we kill this super virus of love without condition?

How then would we read these verses … ?

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. John 15:1-8

A branch that bears no fruit? Malice, envy, fear … maybe. Prunes to make more fruit? Generosity, caring, affection … maybe. Apart from me you can do nothing? Connection, strength, recharging my batteries …. Ask for whatever you wish? Because love without condition will only ever ask for that which empowers each one, liberates each one, and nurtures each one.

Unconditional love is not achieving the perfect body, the perfect home, or the perfect bank balance. Unconditional love is not saving a certain required number from sin. Unconditional love does not ask for “stuff”.

Unconditional love asks for light, for breath, for life in all its forms, its abundance, its variety.

How then would we teach these verses … ?

“‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Where is there room for duty, obligation, sacrifice? Where is there need for loss, burden, obligation? Where is there pain, suffering and grief? Where is there instruction, transaction, earning?

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

What if that means “becoming” love without condition? That the “fruit” is the “being” unconditional love?

What if our self-imposed rule-book gets in the way of that? What if THAT is our biggest barrier to love without condition? What if that “taught and preached” barrier keeps us from relationship with God?  What if that “distance” of relationship is the withering … the gathering … the burning?

And what if our “self-imposed rule-book” is how we teach and preach … burden and sin, sacrifice and duty, failure and obligation?  What if we are teaching and preaching separation, distance and duty?  What if God Soft Hands Jesus teaches and preaches (and invites and implores and desires and requires) only Love Without Condition?

What if our teaching and preaching is not “the true vine” at all.  What if we are teaching each other how to self harm, how to self-prune, to self-burn, to self-wither?  What if our teaching and preaching to achieve the end game of “eternal life” is missing something really important?  What if Love Without Condition is not the “end game” … what if Love Without Condition is not “the game” at all?

What if Love Without Condition is EVERYTHING … right now, today, this moment and every moment?

How then would we read and teach these verses?

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2 thoughts on “How then would we read and teach these verses?

  1. My favorite verse: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” It is why I named my Devotionals “Branches.” It is why I hunker down and allow Him to envelope me in His embrace. It is why I survive the worst of times and thrive in the best of times. It is why I love and am at peace. It is why I cry when I feel Him deep in my heart. That verse. I am a branch. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

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