Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Kingdom Builder - Visionary Strategist - Inspirational Writer
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Nonharmonious Nonsense - John 15:1-8

NoNhArmOniOus nONsEnse
Music Term of the Day:
nonchordal, nonharmonic tones - a dissonant tone which does not belong to the chord with which it sounds; A designation for tones outside the harmonic structure of the chord.
John 15:1-8 [NIV]
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
 
Greetings!
 
BlogFam, What is a Christian?  I do understand that at the most basic level a Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ.  However, I am very clear that there are many “Christians” who believe IN Jesus Christ but what exactly they believe ABOUT Jesus Christ can vary depending on who you talk to. Today’s blog is not meant to convince or convict anybody about all of the non-negotiable doctrinal beliefs that various denominations, sects, or other affiliations espouse.  I am clear that all Christian groups can potentially be grounded in a range of systematic theological beliefs.  However, I do wonder about how we as Christians are truly able to give a unified witness that we are all connected as branches to the True Vine when what we believe about the ONE to whom we are connected is so different. Again, before you get defensive, my friends, I am simply inviting you to wonder with me – if you dare. 
 
Now, as for me, I honestly have a very open- minded way of thinking about this question.  I, by faith, do hold dearly to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man born of a virgin and that he did live, die and rose again for all of humanity. However, I am clear that there are some “Christians” who might disagree with even that statement. So, what is a Christian?  What does it mean to say that you are a Christian? AND How do we overcome the non-harmonious nonsense that so often divides us particularly as we live in the reality that the mystery of all that Jesus is remains and has yet to be revealed? 
 
Friends, it is not my intention to offend; however, I do think that we, as believers, need to be able to give thoughtful responses to the many questions that linger in the minds of those who believe and those who do not believe. For how do we faithfully remain in Him when we really do not understand or seek to understand more about Him individually or in community?  What are the dissonant tones that resound in the conversations we have about our faith? Do we need to revisit what we once thought of as the hallmark traits of Christianity but appear to have shifted or expanded in the 21st century?
 
I am not going to even attempt to answer all of these questions but I will say this: One of the most profound aspects of being a Christian includes the mysterious unity of the many branches to ONE vine.  In other words, the diversity of the many branches that Jesus speaks of in John 15 necessarily alludes to a diversity that we too often dismiss and disrespect.  Jesus is the vine.  We are the branches.  There is not one branch that is identical.  Our only common connection is the True Vine and our instruction is to remain in Him and bear fruit. 
 
To remain means to continue in the same.  I think that we will all be amazed when we get to eternity at those who are present there whom we dismissed as dissonant tones that did not belong to the chord with which our individual ways of living as Christians dictated.  I think we will all be amazed at how our own prejudiced designations for tones outside the harmonic structure of what we defined as our Christian chord were not in sync with the True Vines key signature.  I think that we will all be amazed by the presence of those who really were remaining all along, those whom we had accused of not continuing in the same “Christian” beliefs, traditions, or customs that we propagated as clearly defined and definitely clear.  I think we will also be surprised at the fruitfulness of those whom we had disrespected simply because their style did not blend well with our own.
 
Honestly, all I really want to say to my fellow believers is this: I pray that we would obediently focus on the instruction Jesus gives in John 15 which is to remain in Him and bear fruit to the glory of God.  Unfortunately, we, too often confuse our roles with the role of the Gardner.  The Gardner is the one who cuts off every branch that bears no fruit.  Cutting off others in the name of being a Christian is not our responsibility.  That is nonsense that is not harmonious with the Gospel that Jesus preached.   
 
So, again, I ask myself, what is a Christian? TODAY I say a Christian is one who seeks to remain in the True Vine and desires to bear fruit because of their connection to Him.  And TOMORROW, I just might add something else…
 
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
 
God Loves You and I do too!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
 
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