Lectionary Reading for Today: Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8
Selected Passage for Reflection: John 15:1-8 (NRSV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Read the following prayer poem which is a response to the scripture. Read it through the first time to just take it in. Pause prayerfully to let it steep in you like a tea bag does in hot water.
The second time you read it, notice to which word or phrase you are drawn. Prayerfully pause. What is it about that word or phrase that speaks to you at this time.
Oh Gracious One,
Asking us to abide in you
is a gift clothed in a commandment,
for when we uncover it,
it opens up this expansive place in us.
We can breathe freely and deeply there,
taking in the wonder of your presence.
It fills us up with unspeakable joy
and a peace greater than anything
we have ever experienced.
We are completely known and accepted there
and wholly loved.
You, our Divine Companion,
who call us your own,
invite us into this unimaginable communion,
this Divine Intimacy,
which is our life source.
It nurtures us and fills us
with all that we need and so much more.
It transforms everything:
changing how we live and move in the world;
the way we see others through your eyes;
which defines how we respond to them.
It undergirds us with strength to walk through trying times.
It reminds us that we are your beloved.
No wonder you ask us to abide in you.
It is life and love itself, for us,
and for the places and people you call us to.
Praise you Divine One,
Our Constant Companion,
Keep us here,
moment by moment,
leaning into You, Amen.
Notice God’s presence with you as you move throughout the day. Lean into God’s presence by offering breath prayers, which are just a few syllables long. Offer thanks when you see or experience something beautiful, by simply praying as you breathe it in, ”Thank you God.” Or offer petitions when you are aware of someone in need, like in praying “Comfort, Lord” or “Help, God.” Breath prayers are a way for us to practice the presence of God in the moment.
Thank you gracious God for the divine communion you offer us. Your presence is everything. Deepen our awareness of you in everyday moments and keep us leaning into you. Amen.
About the Author
Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff is the Founder and Executive Director of Journey Center of Chicago, offering retreats, spiritual direction, contemplative spaces, and training people to become spiritual directors. https://journeycenterofchicago.org/ She is married to the love of her life, John, and they have two grown kids who are their joy.