Lent lunch last week - I was asked do a short meditation based on the reading John 15: 1-10.
I am going to tell you a story about a community of people, ordinary people who together shared extraordinary experiences. These were people who were from a number of churches, often families; young people, parents, grand parents and from a range of backgrounds.
The common ground here was a love of God and a willingness to reach out.
The community formed around very simplistic values – Availability, Vulnerability and Openness, a wanting to belong. The catalyst was a young boy who had a gift of dance – expressing the message of the Gospel through emotional movement; this inspired his parents and their friends. The Gospel was not only being reviled to those who watched but very much to the community as they experienced the emotion within these stories.
The community grew to around 30 and weekends away on mission became frequent; even to one week missions in London, Ireland and America. These were as I said ordinary people; they had regular jobs, families, homes and responsibilities. Their time together was special, quiet prayer, sharing visions, growing in the trust of God and each other. Learning about each others strengths and weaknesses – commitment to each other – shaping the community.
It would be nice to hear compliments about the dance and ministry; it would be a privilege to be involved in the healing of another. But the point I want to make is not about the remarkable things that happened around this community. It was something very simply said at a day event at a Methodist church hall one Saturday afternoon. “You guys are special; it is the way you are with each other that stands out”
The name of that community was The Vine. The first dance choreographed by the community was I am the Vine you are the branches – a song by John Michael Talbot.
In accepting that we are the branches – we are community and part of the vine.