getting out the WORD - the fifth sunday of easter PDF Print E-mail

the PRAYER...
O God, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom we cannot live. Nourish our life in his resurrection, that we may bear the fruit of love and know the fullness of your joy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[Jesus said:] "Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

John 15:1-8

I came across a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the other day, that's been bothering me. Guilty conscience, I guess. "A pastor," he writes, "should never complain about his - or her - congregation. A congregation has not been entrusted to them in order that they should become its accusers."

Call it youthful zeal or exuberance, but I have to confess, there was a time I was very good at doing just that. Complaining. Accusing. Not the whole congregation, mind you. But I knew, exactly, who the branches were that bore no fruit! And I was only too eager to prune and gather up and toss into the flames. And the church would be so much better for it. After all, it is only biblical! Chapter! Verse!

Well, I've mellowed over the years. Or, hopefully, I've learned a little along the way. "Who will bring any charge against God's elect," Paul wrote to the church, "Who's to condemn?" The pastor? The preacher? The minister? Maybe it's enough, simply, to do what Jesus did! To do what Jesus does! Maybe it's enough, just, to LOVE!

Bob Barndt, pastor

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