Sunday 3 May
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9.26-31, Psalm 21,
1John 3.18-24, John 15.1-8

The parable of the true vine offers a wonderful image for contemplation, and although it can seem so positive and comforting, it does carry a challenge. Jesus clearly says that the branches that bear no fruit will be cut off, but he also clearly says that those which do bear fruit will also be pruned – and when you look at pruned vines (like roses that have been pruned hard) what is left is quite stark. It is an uncomfortable image. It is easy as a disciple to assume that the fruit that is borne is enough, but the message is that any branch can always bear more and must be pruned in order to do so. The reading from the Acts of the Apostles and that from the first letter of St John carry the same message of unqualified discipleship. Saul is so fervent that his opponents are out to kill him, and we know from Paul’s own account as well as that of the book of Acts that he gets fiercely pruned by the Lord as, piece by piece, everything is taken from him.

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