by Holly Stoerker
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.”
“You did not choose me but I chose you.” The control freak in me is liberated by these words. I’m actually powerless when it comes to gaining God’s love. It’s not my responsibility to make it happen, nor even within my ability. What a relief! I am already one of Jesus’ friends. And the other good news is that my status as “chosen” doesn’t seem to inflate my ego. It simply fills me with quiet confidence. Jesus has faith in me, of all people!
Jacob’s Ladder – Polemonium reptans
These photographs, shared each day during Lent, capture the beauty of plants native to the Upper Midwest. As we spend time in Lenten reflection, these images of new life can remind us daily of our calling to be caretakers of God’s Creation.
Photo by Jo Anna Hebberger