ďI am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. 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. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothingĒ (John 15:1-5).
Dear Saints of Zion,
April showers bring May flowers! Spring is in the air. And weíve certainly had April showers, havenít we? Itís almost as if all of our prayers for rain from last summer are finally being answered this spring. Well, the Lord knows what Heís doing. He gives us what we need when we need it. All things happen according to His timetable, just in the way He sent His beloved Son, in the fullness of time.
I donít have a green thumb, but I am slowly learning about planting. In the midst of my continued unpacking, Iíve been enjoying getting out into our new yard and investigating the plants that are there and adding new ones. Even though I am an amateur, I enjoy growing a few vegetables. To my surprise, our garden last year produced quite a crop. We had an overabundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and zucchini. Iím planting less this year, but still hoping for a good crop.
When it comes to salvation we donít have to wait for rain and hope that thereís enough to make things grow. God showers us with His grace, with the love of Jesus, with the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Jesus is the heart and center of our worship, His presence in Word and Sacrament, that we might remain in Him and that we might have all that we need for Him to grow us up and bring forth fruit by His Holy Spirit.
May brings flowers! May brings Pentecost! May brings the emphasis of the Spiritís work to continue our Lordís Gospel ministry. The Holy Spiritís work still all about Jesus! Itís our connection to Him that matters most, for salvation AND for sanctification, growth in the Christian life. And yet, May also begins the time when church attendance tends to drop off in anticipation of the summer. Thatís unfortunate!
There is an overabundance of showers always available for you in Christ. Remember that as you enter the summer months. Worship is your pipeline to our Lordís saving presence, whether youíre here in Staunton or on vacation in Timbuktu. Abide in Jesus, where He has promised to be in His means of grace, and He will abide in you. His Spirit will keep you anchored in Him and abounding in good fruit!
Fruitful trees, the Spiritís sowing,
May we ripen and increase,
Fruit to life eternal growing,
Rich in love and joy and peace.
Fruitful trees, the Spiritís tending,
May we grow till harvests cease;
Till we taste, in life unending,
Heavenís love and joy and peace.
(LSB 691:1, 4)
Yours in Christ,