Just cling, cells interlocked, bark intact, and let the sap flow slowly but surely through winter frost, tingling gently, keeping you alive, vibrantly pouring when summer sun saturates the world with heat, a constant feeding in the sleep of night. Rest, but cling.
Just cling, small one, drinking from my veins, and you will turn strong: sturdy when wind whips you, healthy though insidious pests attack and try to suck the life from you, full of luscious clustered fruit -- and you, all mine!
Just cling! And know that, weak as you are on your own (a dry twig, snapped and gone), attached to me you’re part of something huge, a Vine wrapped round the world, hugging humans into a new thing: variant colors joined in peace, re-Creation!
4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. (Jn. 15:4-5 CSB)
Nothing! Jesus said we can do “nothing” without him. This is all about being able to produce “fruit” instead of withering away. And the fruit that he is referring to here comes from being so attached to him that what he wants is what we want, what he values is what we value, and what he wants us to do is what we want to do. With his love nourishing us, we can flourish and live out that love to those around us – this is exactly what we must do to be “fruitful”:
9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. (Jn. 15:9-12 CSB)
Yes, clinging to him will have consequences, both joy and sacrifice. Loving one another in the sense Jesus is talking about includes loving our neighbor to the point of being willing to put our own life on the line for them:
13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. (Jn. 15:13 CSB)
We want to stay attached to Jesus, right? So are we willing to be who he wants us to be, and actually produce the kind of fruit he has in mind? This is dangerous stuff, not just a cozy rock-in-the-cradle-and-stay-isolated love. He wants us to reach out to others, even others different from us (cf the parable of the Good Samaritan). As we cling to him, following his desires, he holds us tight as we spread out as part of a constantly growing, loving community., each of us drinking in his amazing love and developing actual clusters of fruit. Let’s just cling!