When Christ speaks of being the Vine, which we are all connected to and connected through, we are reminded that what we do must come from Christ, or it won’t be fruitful. The same can be said about our relationships. Unless we recognize everyone in this way, seeing them as children of God, we miss seeing them as God sees them.
Of course, God sees us in this way as well, and sees our connection to others through Himself. Whether we like it or not, whether we can see it or not, this is the connection that is most real. From the beginning of our lives, at the moment God gave us life, each one of us was already connected. So why do we not always feel this way?
We love to say that we don’t feel this connection because the other person turned away from God, cut themselves off from the True Vine. We all know it isn’t always the other person, and we all know sometimes it is both of us. While we rarely cut ourselves off completely, we are all guilty of trying to do our own thing. This is when our own branch is all stem: still alive, but not growing, still part of the Vine, but not helping it grow.
These are the times when we are most likely to notice something has happened. We are frustrated by all the effort without results. We don’t feel like anything is fruitful (because it isn’t), and we wonder why. Sometimes the problem is that we forget the point of the parable, why Jesus told us that He is the Vine and we are the branches:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Sometimes we are too focused on our own branch, and we miss the bigger mission of our branch. The health of the whole Vine is dependent upon the health of every branch, and vice versa. We have to see ourselves as part of something bigger, that the One Church we profess ourselves to belong to isn’t an affiliation between organizations, it is the Body of Christ. Only by seeing this truth can we see how completely connected we already are.