Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Doing Nothing

(If you're expecting something on Sabbath, my apologies.)

A seminary classmate and colleague, James Kim, tweeted this earlier today. " 'Apart from me you can do nothing' (Jn. 15:5). If you're interested in nothing, do it your way, do it without God." He was obviously referring to a portion of today's gospel reading. Here's the entire verse. "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."

When I was a kid, it was common practice for parents or other adults who suspected we children were up to something to ask, "What are you doing?" To which the stock reply was, "Nothing." Even as an adult, it still makes for a nice evasive answer. Of course most of us know that it's evasive. Whose suspicions are not aroused when they are told that someone is doing nothing?

It's really hard to do nothing. It's not impossible, but it's hard. I find it very difficult to keep from thinking, to stop the mental wheels from turning. So when I answer, "Nothing," I'm rarely being completely honest.

And Jesus said to his Church, "What are you doing?" Churches tend to be fairly busy places. Even very small churches often have lots of meetings and groups that use the building and choir practices and Sunday services and classes and so on. But I'm not sure how much of this is related to our abiding deeply in Jesus and him in us, to our bearing the fruit he would have us bear. If so, then perhaps there are multiple reasons for us to answer, "Nothing."

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