“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.”
Loving and Being Loved
When we abide in God, when we abide in Jesus, we can thrive, our Christian life thrives. But when we are cut off from Jesus, when we are broken from Jesus, then our Christian life can wither and die.
-Br. James Koester
This week in these videos we’re considering intimacy, the intimacy which Jesus had with the Father and which the Father had with Jesus. The question, I think, for us is how that intimacy might look for us. We’re looking specifically today at the verse, “As the father has loved me so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” That comes from the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John where Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches.
I know a little bit about gardening. I know that vines can thrive separately. If a branch is cut off, the vine continues to thrive. But the branch will actually wither and die, and you can see that in all sorts of garden plants. When a branch is cut off, it dies, but the rest of the plant can be fine.
That metaphor, I think, is true for us. When we abide in God, when we abide in Jesus, we can thrive, our Christian life thrives. But when, for some reason or other, we are cut off from Jesus, when we are broken from Jesus, then like that branch, our Christian life can wither and die.
The question for us, I think, is, “How can we make our Christian life thrive? How can we abide in God’s love?” One of the ways that people do that is through the practice of having a “soul friend,” somebody that they can talk to about their friendship and relationship and intimacy with Jesus. I’m not talking about cornering somebody at work and trying to convince them to come to church. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m actually talking about sitting down over a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or something with somebody who’s also a fellow believer in Jesus and just taking the time to talk about my friendship with Jesus and to listen to them talk about their friendship with Jesus. In that we can both encourage and be encouraged, and our friendships with Jesus can be deepened. We can learn to abide in the love of the Father just as the branch abides in the vine.
In that way, I think, through this practice of “soul friends,” we can learn to become more intimate with God as we both share our experience of God and as we listen to another person, our soul friend, talk about their relationship with Jesus.