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Abide

Abide

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 — Wednesday in Holy Week

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 958)

Psalms 97, 99 (morning) 115 (evening)

Micah 7:7-15

Acts 3:1-10

John 15:1-11

“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. …As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

I was visiting in my friend Macrina Wiederkehr’s office one day. Macrina is a Benedictine nun. She pointed with bright-eyed energy to a significant sign prominent above the workspace of her desk. There was one word: “Abide.” She said something to indicate that this word had become something of a touchstone for her, especially as she became absorbed into her daily challenges and tasks. “Abide.”

I know that an important part of Macrina’s spiritual practice is to meditate on scripture using the ancient discipline of lectio divina. When she pointed at the sign and indicated its importance to her, I knew that she had experienced a profound period of lectio while reading John 15. It had hit her in a deep place.

To abide in Jesus is to live in an intimate, energizing connection with him, as a living branch abiding in the living vine. The prayer of lectio itself, listening deeply with open mind and heart, is an experience of abiding with God’s word.

It seems to me that there is a passive and an active dimension to this abiding.

We abide when we do things like lectio, abiding with a passage of scripture. Listening deeply. Letting it feed us like the nutrients from the vine moving into the branches. To abide with God awhile implies a resting, a contentment. To abide is to simply be. Here. Awake, alert, yet still and restful. It is the rich, trustful waiting, like the opening of today’s reading from Micah: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; God will hear me.”

There is also an active form of abiding. When we know our grounding and our source, we can move through our day with its busy demands and challenges, while having a portion of our consciousness aware that we are simultaneously abiding in the life and love of Christ. The Holy Spirit is breathing and energizing us as we live and move and have our being in God. We bear much fruit because we are connected to the divine life, abiding in God’s love, that Christ’s joy may be in us, and our joy may be complete.

It may be that this notion of abiding can also help us recognize what parts of our life are not fruitful, but wasteful, draining and fruitless. When we sense that some activities, relationships or passions do not maintain our grounded abiding in Christ, it may be a sign that these are the branches that need to be pruned in order that we might bear good fruit.

Abide.

A good word for right now, this morning time of waiting — reading, praying, reflecting. A good word also for the active time of the day.

“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. …As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

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