“Grapes of God” (Inward Outward Reflection)

NOTE: This is a reflection from the Inward Outward emails I get.  It is written by one of the Missions of a church I was deeply involved with in Washington, DC for years and years called Church of the Saviour.  The title is a live link you can click on to learn more about it and subscribe to a variety of spiritual reflections. From N.C.

Grapes of God

John 15:1-8
(For Kayla)

Jesus is talking to his disciples around the last supper table. Moments before, he washed his friend’s feet, much to their bewilderment. The gospel writer lets us know how much Jesus has to say to them. Time was of the essence. There were a great deal of instructions. Maybe that’s why he washed their feet first. Getting them out of their heads. Honoring and blessing their bodies … those clay feet. The Word made flesh, said the most without speaking. Once more to draw even closer to their stubborn hearts … to knit them together. To weave them unto himself. “Make your home in me, as I have in you”, said the servant leader. And being at home in each other, is just about the most intimate thing we can do.

The son of the Farmer God, drawing upon this agrarian metaphor, coaxes us to allow this “greening” to happen. And like the Star Jasmine that unwaveringly wraps herself around my porch in the summer, so wrapped are we. A growing thing tells the story. An endless winding thread. It’s a claim on us, and a promise—A sacred daisy chain around our wrists, joining us one to the other.

As a grape on the vine, it’s not lost on me that I’m not the only one here. Grapes are tribal. What if my growing—this new born fruit—cannot happen without the growth around me? What if yours has everything to do with mine, and mine with yours? What if I lived my life with the heart knowledge that all of this fruit surrounding me is what makes me whole? There is no escaping our intrinsic connection, a thought both comforting and startling. Apart from you, how do I know who I am? What do we need from each other? These grapes of ours make the wine that Jesus blesses–the blood of his veins, he says–and invites us to drink. To become one with him, and each other, so that not even death can separate us.

Several Saturdays ago, we gathered at Wellspring, sang songs, told stories, and gave thanks for the life of our sister and friend, Kayla McClurg. We walked her ashes down to the lake of the saints, a place where many of our elders have been laid to rest. Each of us were invited to reach into the beautifully handcrafted urn, take her ashes, and scatter them into the water. I had never touched ashes before. I let Kayla go from my cold right hand, the thin grey lines of her remaining as I patted palms together, holding them in prayer. I felt such a deep connection to her, to those gathered, and to all living things, that my mind stoped it’s wandering and worrying for a moment, allowing only tears and soft groans of thanksgiving. And like each grape on the vine, every tear on every face tastes the same.

We can never untangle this beautifully twisting spiral of life in which we share our growing. Thank God for that.

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