Saturday, January 21, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Call to Unity

Rev. Baiju Markose

Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago
I am the vine; you are the branches (v.5)

What a ‘green’ imagery! The image of a vine tree. The tree always triggers imaginations about life and its patterns. In a special way, the imagery represents the web of life. It reminds us that ‘life is possible only through connectivity.’ From the uncharted pattern of the roots to the flowering branches and the nerves of the leaves, it is interconnected and interwoven. The micro and macrocosm are obviously interwoven. Such deep sense of constant connectivity provides us new imaginations, new perspectives, and new initiatives.
‘I am the vine and you are the branches,’ by saying this Jesus proclaims a divine-human continuity. The main thrust of John’s Gospel is exactly this argument which counters the neo-platonic idea of gated divine-human realms. In the very beginning, John dismantles such a fundamental separatism, between divine and human world, through the narration of incarnation. Reclaiming our bodies and everyday life in this world as the continuity of the divine is the real challenge today. Divine and human realm are in constant continuity and in flux.
The image of the vine tree, obviously says about the connectivity. We are mutually interconnected. Our lives are mutually interwoven. From such a deep awareness of connectivity, we experience unity. In other words, unity is intrinsic, not external.  Unfortunately, we are living in a disconnected world. Most often we tend to be separatist, gated, and closed in the name of caste, color, gender, ethnicity etc. At this vantage point, the primary and essential thing that we need to do is to enter into the consciousness of connectivity. As Henry David Thoreau penned; “when I entered into the unfenced Walden, I regained a deep sense of connectivity.”
The word for ‘remain’ is worthy of meditating. hupomenei/paramonei- the related Greek words for 'remain' means to abide, to sojourn, to stay behind, etc. A ‘struggle’ is intended along with the action of remaining. Remaining, or staying is not an unconscious or taken for granted action, but it is a conscious choice. The word hupomonei, can also be translated as “endurance.” This points to the creative struggle that Christians should keep in their life and witness. By revisiting, re-meditating, re-claiming, our rootedness in Christ, we produce new sprouts of life. And thereby new fruits!


Lord, help us to enter into the unfenced pattern of love and life in You! Amen.


In music, the fundamental tone is the lowest or the root tone of a chord. Without its presence, no true harmony is established.”