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Easter Five - So that Joy may be complete

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit ... I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (RCL John 15:1-8) This has become one of the most encouraging images of the spiritual journey to me, but it has not always been so. Indeed I once hated the image of God as one who prunes – who cuts deep and burns what is not fruitful. I once found it frightening but now find it a very healing and hopeful image.