Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:26-40; 1 John 4:1-11; John 15:1-8
In our backyard garden is a grapevine that I spent much of last summer fussing over – weeding, watering and pruning. Now I see that sometime over the winter a curious rabbit or deer had bitten right through the main vine close to its roots, ensuring there will be no fruit this summer. So it goes…
Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” How easy it is to neglect that one connection point, that one critical relationship in our lives that matters more than any other. That is our connection to Jesus and his life-giving, life-changing mercies (Jn 15).
Sunday’s readings emphasize that every bit of spiritual fruit we bear (faith, hope, love) flows down to us from the Father and through Jesus – dispensed through Word and Sacrament to hungry, growing branches. We cannot generate such fruits on our own, no matter how hard we try.
All true and perfect forms of love come to us from God. Only by His grace and Spirit can such love abide in us and flow out of us to our family, friends and neighbors. (1Jn 4) Speaking of connections, how marvelous that God sent an angel to arrange a meeting between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. An even greater connection is made to the means of grace when Philip teaches him God’s Word and baptizes him into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! (Acts 8)