“O Lord, deliver me from all ignorance and heedlessness, from pettiness of the soul and hardness of heart.”

Today, I lean in;

Today, I begin again.

Jesus said,

“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.” (John 15:5)

I am drawn to several points of attention

  • Abide in Jesus
  • Jesus will abide in me
  • “bear much fruit”

Definition of abide: Accept or act in accordance with (rule, decision, or recommendation). To stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy).

…to act in accordance with. I think this phrase adds another layer of depth to the color or idea of Jesus’ intent when he uses the word (Greek: meno) abide. “Abide in me.” Similarly, I think there is reciprocity implied with Jesus’ statement; “those who abide in me and I in them.”

It sounds to me like this; as much as I act in accordance with Jesus, Jesus acts in accordance with me. It seems an interesting juxtaposition.

While this line of thinking may find resistance from some theologians, it seems that the description is very similar to a symbiotic relationship. This seems especially true when the context of branch and vine are considered.

Symbiotic: Involving interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association. Denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.

There are three types of symbiotic relationships:

  • Mutualism – both partners benefit
  • Commensalism – only one species benefits while the other is neither helped or harmed
  • Parasitism – one organism (the parasite) gains, while the other (the host) suffers

Depending on perspective, the relationship Jesus describes might resemble aspects of mutualism and commensalism. While God is not dependent upon our abiding, still His joy is made complete when we do. Abide in me and I in you. Another thought in this symbiotic relationship is the benefit of the body, the Church. Jesus prays in John 17, that all his followers would be one as he is one with God, we would be one with him and God. This is amazing and mind-blowing stuff! In this context of symbiotic relationship, we all benefit, every shared gift of the individual member of the body benefits the body and each member therein. It seems, while I am not a biologist, symbiotic relationship is the precursor to divine oneness. This is the invitation Jesus extends to us. May it be as he has described.

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