Sundays such as this one remind us that every Sunday is an occasion of grace, an opportunity to obey God’s command to rest and to trust in God’s promises at work in our lives. Last Sunday’s gospel, and Marshall Craver’s wonderful sermon, focused on “abiding in the vine”—finding our true nature in the essential relationship we share in God. The vine is Jesus’ image for God’s people, who find that “in returning and rest” within the Body of Christ we find our confidence and strength.
This week our gospel reading continues Jesus’ teaching on our life as the vine, as he says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love…. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus’ commandment is not burdensome; in fact, he says, it will make your joy complete. This love is the fruit that lasts.
What distracts or separates us from our life together in the vine? Sunday is our opportunity to return and rest together in our shared life in Christ, and to be renewed and energized for following His loving command.