Re-connect! Our theme for the year is based on John 15 where Jesus uses horticulture to symbolise how we are to be connected to him. I have been inspired by the concept of "Reconnecting" and how it might be possible to reconnect with the vine (especially for those who feel disconnected)... and it has made me think of "Grafting". The Apostle Paul writes:
“You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So, if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.” – Romans 11:24 NLT
When talking about grafting we need to understand the original term to fully explore the concept that is being spoken about. When we graft branches for instance, we are connecting two very different plants. One plant is strong, healthy, durable; the other not so strong or durable and may need healing for it to survive. The connection is made by cutting both the root plant and the plant that is not well to slot in and then tied together to be united as if the second part was originally part of the first.
When people graft plants, they aim to see healing come to a diseased plant or to create dwarf versions of the original plant through the uniting that occurs in the process. Grafting does take time and depending on a range of variables, most likely with the second plant, may not succeed.
When we talk about Jesus being the vine and asking us branches to be connected in, we are grafted in by a similar process that is shown above. It does take time, effort and due to our inactions or change of heart may not succeed in being fully united. When we are connected to the true vine in Christ, we can find healing. And like vines, when we become connected to the root we become more like that root. Just as we are grafted into the family of Christ, we start becoming more like Jesus. Our desires change, our worldview changes, what we think is important starts to look more like what God thinks as important.
Jesus shows us a great example of how to be more like him in John 13:1-17, where he, God in human form, took the lowly position of a servant and washed his disciples’ feet. An act left for the lowest in the household.
“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” – John 13:14-15 NLT
And in the end, he also took that lowly position again to replace us on the cross, in which he died to save us from the death that we so deserved.
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” - John 15:12-13 NLT