Intimate Relationships: The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
How do these verses from John have something to say about families and intimacy? From a plant biology perspective there can be no closer relationship than that of the branch to the vine! The branch may have come into existence first, but ultimately, there is little difference or separation from branch to the vines that it creates. Thinking through the analogy between the Vine’s relationship to the branches, God’s relationship to us and Parents relationship to their children. While the vines need sunlight to grow (i.e. There are some external factors that make us who we are), most of the nutrients needed to survive and grow and thrive can only be delivered through the connecting branch. Our intimate relationship to God significantly impacts how we think and what we are and who we become. In addition, the parents’ relationship to their children significantly impacts who they become. Without those intimate familial relationships, growth is often difficult and we cannot fully develop into “the meaningful life Christ intends.”
So, as difficulties in life cause us to dismiss or minimize the importance of intimate relationships with God and those of our family, consider the necessary relationship of the vines to the branch. Without those relationships, we will not fully be the creation that Christ intends us to be!