Our Gospel this week is John 15:1-8, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Children of God are recognized by their love for Him and one another. It’s evident by their words and actions, and how they treat people. When we live for His glory and to lift up others, we are bearing fruit for the kingdom as Jesus taught us.

Some ask “How can you be like that when the world is such a terrible place?” The sad answer is that we have made the world what it is, which is certainly not what God intended. Human failure has spoiled the wonderful creation God entrusted to us.

However, that’s not the end of the story. Jesus says through our connection to the Father we can receive forgiveness and be part of the work to redeem the world. Accepting Jesus as our Lord is the first step, and we must all take that step for ourselves.

Loving Lord, You made a wonderful place for us and filled it with good things. Help us to be connected to You, good stewards of what we have been given, and bearers of the Good News always. Amen.

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