God is the gardener, the pruner of the vine which is His son, Jesus Christ. Where we fit into this metaphor is as the branches off the one true vine. As the Gardener prunes our branch, He heals our sufferings and discards the unnecessary or the aberrant. He will bring us to our true nature which is to bear much fruit on our branch of the vine, His own Son, Jesus Christ. 
Anything that we do that comes from love, forgiveness, mercy and justice is amplified in our world, resonating with the Spirit that already envelops and inspires the universe. It echoes, it boosts the message so that it travels far and wide throughout the land. This is the work that God does with our contributions to His will—He carries it far and wide, because the whole universe resounds with His qualities. The reach of His message does not depend on us; it is echoed throughout the universe whenever we are in the truth about God, Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit; that message goes wherever the message needs to be heard.
Our whole part in this is to be true to God. The results are in His hands. But when we add our voices to the One True Voice, we can be sure that our fidelity to the Word will be heard; that the message we echo with all our hearts and souls and minds and strengths will resound in the greater message.
This is how being a branch on the vine of Jesus Christ works. After we have been pruned(healed) of all the dead and diseased parts we are showing forth our own true nature. After all we were created in God’s image. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” It’s not that we make something happen on our own, but that we can join our own voice to the message of love, forgiveness, mercy and justice that echoes throughout the universe. And then it is up to the Spirit of God who hears that message and might be awakened to it.
Anytime we’re in our own will, we contribute nothing to God’s message of love and forgiveness to the world. In fact, we detract from it, just because we have forgotten God in this moment and we are offering up the opposite of His eternal message. “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
We can’t see the Spirit, but we can hear and see the evidence of His grace and His blessings and His provision in our lives. If what we say and do reflects our gratitude for His ongoing presence in our lives, then we are lifting up our voices to echo Jesus’ and the whole body of Christ. One more witness. One more spokesperson. One more voice to add to all the rest that resound throughout the ages. For who has forgotten Francis of Assisi or John of the Cross or Julian of Norwich and many other saints whose writings and lives still resound today.
All this we do so that Jesus’ prayer just before He died on the cross may be echoed throughout the universe: “ I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” Jesus prayed that we all might be one “just as you are in me and I am in you…so that they may be brought to complete unity.”
Who can see what affect we have on other people; who knows what really affected their lives? I have always though that it was fortunate that we don’t see the effect we have on others, it might just lead us right back to pride and superiority. In fact, it is really not our business to know what effect our message or our lives have on others; that is wholly up to the Spirit of God. We, lucky souls that we are, get to participate in God’s divine message, but never to own it.
Questions to ponder over the week: What has been your experience when you do something with love, forgiveness, mercy or justice? Have you felt your message went farther than expected? Did another person open more than you expected? Were you aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you expressing these qualities with your whole self or only consciously? Do your unconscious attitudes belie what you are trying to do? [Just consider the questions that seem to call you.]
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who offer love, forgiveness, mercy and justice to the people we meet. To the situations we encounter. May we be true to Jesus’ teachings.
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 John 15:1-8
 Genesis 1:27
 John 15:5
 John 15:4
 John 17:26
 John 17:21