Reading about the Vine and Branches in Food and Faith. It reminds me of how so many people believe they can be Christians without a faith community. Why do they believe this? Because they haven’t been taught or educated correctly. We are taught that being Christian is an intellectual and ethical exercise. Believe the right things and then do the right things. Well, of course we don’t need a community for that. No one needs a community to help them believe in gravity. No one needs a community to help them clean their house or brush their teeth. And we boil the ethics down to a sad, picked over version of Torah, which makes it pretty easy to “please” God. We follow the 10 Commandments. We try to self-generate the fruits of the Spirit as described by Paul, so we surround ourselves with people we like and stuff we enjoy and bingo, Christianity achieved. But we’ve missed the point, and why? I can only say it’s because the church has failed to teach us the true point.
Being a Christian is a love affair. It is about loving and adoring our Mommy-Daddy God. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to love us from within. It is about finding true sympathy and understanding in Christ our brother. It is about looking at Torah, ALL of it, and understanding how hopeless we are at fulfilling it, especially once we add Jesus’ interpretation as found in Matthew 5 – 7. Once we have comprehended how far we are from fulfilling Torah, then the Holy Spirit comes in and comforts us. Then our gratitude for Jesus’ actions is overwhelming. And, just as in Luke 7, the more we allow the Holy Spirit to show us our sins, the deeper and greater grows our love for Jesus. And by the way, being honest about our sin and our capability for sin is not about guilt, or beating ourselves up. It’s about being a small child, seeing how we can’t actually do very much, and then running to Mommy-Daddy God’s lap for comfort and reassurance. It’s about being an integral part of millions of lives brought together – a giant beautiful vine.