Day 37: Play it again, Sam
Rick, aka Humphrey Bogart, chides his longtime friend and piano: “Play it again, Sam.” Sam resists. He knows hearing that melody, hearing those notes, will conjure up old feelings in Rick. But sometimes it is good to conjure up earlier thoughts.
I spent 7 Blog Posts going through Chapter 14. You are probably thinking, “I know, I read them all.” I am concerned. Did I go overboard? 7 Blog Posts means I was asking you to hang in with an idea, a train of thought, for more than 2 weeks.
Most advice you read about Blogging is: (1) Keep it under 500 words, and (2) Make each post a single stand-alone idea.
I broke those rules. I believe you can handle it.
I also believe Chapters 14-18 are critical for us.
My goal was to get us to see ourselves and our world, the way I think God sees us—as “spiritual beings”. As spiritual beings having a physical experience.
Let me ask you to play it again. Here are the points I was trying to invite you to see in Chapter 14:
- “In his Name” means taking on his character—completely.
- “Greater Things” has everything to do with complete unity with the Father.
- “When we focus on Loving Jesus” obedience comes more naturally.
- "Believing in Jesus” means putting your “full weight” on him.
I called all of this — having God’s character, loving obedience, unity with the Father and full reliance — “One-ness”.
All of this is built upon the idea that we really are spiritual beings. How else could any of this begin to make sense? In these last hours, Jesus is trying to have his followers see themselves as spiritual beings involved in this great big world that God created.
He presses beyond them being involved—to union with God.
In John chapter 15, I want to suggest that Jesus is touching again on the same themes. This time he is using a word picture—vines and branches.
Read it, play it, again, those first 11 verses of John 15. What do you hear?
Perhaps you might jot down some notes.
When I jot down a few notes, I read again the themes of one-ness expressed as the union of vine and branch—their abiding in one another. I read of love and obedience playing off each other. I read again of this idea of “asking”. It is all there—one-ness.
There is one other bit I want to touch on. The pruning and the burning.
When a vine dresser prunes, they cut off dead branches, but also live ones. When they prune, they cut into living material. Why? To shape the vine into something better. God does the same to us.
Why the burning? Is this just a little unnecessary detail? Nothing in the Gospels is wasted. If the vine dresser left the newly pruned, and still living, branches on the ground, near the vine he just dressed—do you know what would happen? They would grow, and grow right back into the vine.
Those parts of the vine, that the vine dresser has determined will limit, even hurt, the vine—those parts must be completely removed and destroyed, or they will get back in.
Wow! Now there’s an image of God caring for us.