Abide in me as I abide in you. Just 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. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 4-5
In the normal hustle and bustle of our world, there is often no time for rest or a break, let alone sufficient time for Sabbath or to abide in Christ. Normally, we are running from this activity to the next: work; school; church; sports; events; concerts; travel; volunteer activities; and the list goes on. There are usually great demands on our time. Demands that require us to prioritize mean we have to let go of some things that would be good for us, like rest, sabbath. And sometimes worship and prayer. I remember some years ago, a speaker at a conference talking about how God worked for six days in creation and rested on the seventh. But because we are human, we need to rest first, that our work comes out of the Sabbath day of rest that God provides. But we don’t always live this way.
To abide in Christ is to be connected to a life-giving vine that gives us sustenance and nurture. We now find ourselves in a time that, while stressful for many, can be a time of abiding. Beyond a rest and Sabbath, abiding offers something else: nutrients of love and grace; forgiveness and mercy. God calls us to abide in Christ. And for those with more time and space in these days of Covid-19, because it is not this way for everyone right now, my prayer is that we can enter into a spiritual practice of abiding. We can use some of the time which we are given to simply be. To be still. To rest in the Word of the Lord. Time to abide. We can dwell in God’s word, we can dwell in prayer, we can dwell in silence, listening to our breath, the breath of life that God gives us. Do you know that apart from God we can do nothing. Let us practice abiding, dwelling in God’s Word, in prayer, in silence, and listening. And as we abide in Christ, Christ abides is us and the grace, truth, and peace of God continues to nurture, sustain, and grow in us.
God of hope, we thank you for giving us Jesus your Son who dwells in us, who abides in us, with us and for us. Give us grace to stop our tendency to be busy. You give us a time of Sabbath and a time to abide, and instead we try and fill it up with other activities. Still our hearts and minds. Calm our spirits so that we can abide in You and hear Your voice as You call us to be still, to be silent, to hear Your call in our lives. Abide in us so that your truth and Your word may grow and thrive in us, today and always. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.