I Am the Vine- Happy Father's Day


Midweek Faith Lift

June 24, 2020

“I Am the Vine” Happy Father’s Day

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis


Good Morning!  Today is a day for honoring fathers, honoring the masculine principle, the generative principle that is life giving and that flows in each of us as we embody all the elements of Father/Mother God.   We are also at Station 7, “I Am the Vine,” in our Sixteen Stations of the Cosmic Christ which fits very well with Father’s Day.  This idea of the Vine as an archetype is associated with our Root Chakra, or the first chakra in the Hindu tradition.  It is associated with life giving and life-sustaining energy, the energy of father.  When we speak of the Vine, we are speaking of the energy of our Root chakra, a foundational energy of our roots, for vines are deeply rooted.


From the website: https://www.chakras.info/root-chakra-symbol/ , we learn the following:


          The root chakra is the first chakra. Its energy is based on the earth element. It’s associated with the feeling of safety and grounding. It’s at the base of the chakra system and lays the foundation for expansion in your life.

          Where is the Root Chakra?

          The first chakra or root chakra is located at the base of the spine, in the pelvic area. This chakra is often represented as a cone of energy starting at the base of the spine and going downward and then slight bent up.

           The first chakra is associated with the following functions or behavioral characteristics:

           Security, safety


           Basic needs (food, sleep, shelter, self-preservation, etc.)

           Physicality, physical identity and aspects of self


           Support and foundation for living our lives.


Vines are durable and as Matthew Fox says, “inventive.”  They are tough, strong, enduring and hard to uproot, fiercely committed to their own survival and require constant pruning and cutting back to ensure that they continue to bear fruit and that they don’t get out of control.  Pruning imposes order on vines and strengthens the connection to the root, and increases the depth of the roots anchored in the soil.  This is an archetype for fathers and fathering as anchored in the roots of our very existence.


That is the Hindu and chakra energy of this story of vines and rootedness.  Now what is the Christian take on this energy and the story of the vine and the branches? It is in the Gospel of John, the most mystical Gospel, which also fits very well with this concept of Cosmic Christ.  What does Scripture say about the vine and the branches?  It is John 15:1-6 and it goes like this:


            Jesus the True Vine


           15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (NRSV)


This message is Jesus speaking directly to his disciples to make it very clear how this all works, this following Jesus process.  Right off the top, Jesus makes it very clear that all growth, all life is God life and God growth and Jesus states clearly that he is the vine.  All life grows from the root; the Christ of us is the vine and we, as the expression and growth of that vine are the branches.  As branches, we are all different colors, shapes, and sizes.  The vine is very durable and expansive but if the branches are disconnected, they wither and do not grow and are burned in the fire of transformation. 


To grow, we abide in God, in love, and then we bear fruit.  Jesus also tells us to expect regular pruning so that we do not run out of control.  Every branch that bears fruit will be pruned so that it may bear even more fruit.  It will not bear healthy fruit if it is not regularly pruned and brought into divine order.  Nowhere does it say that we will embrace, enjoy or even want the pruning!  However it will happen because that is how we are in service to the energy of the root, of the vine grower, of God.  The image Jesus us gives us is that the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, even though we try and try again to prove that we are so powerful and can do it by ourselves. 


Now I have never fired God or tried to do things all by myself without considering that I may need God’s help or anyone else’s help for that matter.  I have never had my ego run out of control so that I might tell someone off to “put her in her place” so to speak.  Oh, no, I would NEVER do that!  Or I have never been so frozen in place that all the power of my root chakra seems to fail me and I cannot speak up for myself.  In that instance, I usually think of what I want and need to say two days later when the power of the moment has passed.  When I was a kid and a young woman, that happened most frequently in the face of criticism from my dad, unfortunately. 


Finding my voice to speak up has been a way to claim the energy of my roots, of my Christ self.   Learning that I did not have to be 100% right before I could have a voice was a part of that pruning of self-doubt and self-consciousness.  All I can say is that I am very grateful that my tongue has not actually been pruned or my ability to speak!  Very grateful!  Learning to pray before speaking, “God please speak through me has been an incredibly powerful way to navigate tough conversations while staying connected to Source, to the Vine of my Being and to the root of my energy, to the love that is the Ground of my very Being.


We all get drunk on the fruit of the vine and forget what the true source is, what the true power is at the center of our being.  When we realize that the literal vine that Jesus was actually referencing here, the one bearing fruit is a grape vine.  When Scripture makes reference to a vine, it is a grapevine.  How appropriate!  The fruit of the vine is wine, which is hugely symbolic in ancient cultures including the Judaism of Jesus.  Wine, even in the cults of the Greek gods like Dionysus or Bacchus was for communion not just intoxication. 


One drinks and feels the heat of the earth and the sun in the wine, literally the power of the god in the wine!  This cult of the vine was symbolic of the cycle of resurrection or apparent death, followed by new growth and new life.  This is the cycle of the grapevine as it is pruned and then new growth and new life follow.  It is the cycle of our soul, our consciousness as we are pruned, shaped and re-shaped by all of the storms and fires that life gives us.  It is in this pruning that our roots go deeper and support new growth.  How does this look in real time?


Well, right now, in our culture, in our country, white power, police power, straight people power is getting pruned in a big way.  And it is such a healthy pruning!  For too long, the privileged have been drunk on the wine of intoxicating power.  We of privilege forgot that wine is for communion, to build community and to bring us together, not separate us.  Now, the power of the vine of communion is yielding fruit: the fruit of Black Lives Matter, of #Me, Too, of LBGTQ Pride and human rights affirmed by the Supreme Court. 


What that says to all of us is that the pruning, the burning of what no longer serves us yields the incredible fruit of a deeper, stronger, more colorful and fully alive, creative and fuller expression of the Godness of life… with ALL the branches in full power and expression.  We are all a beautiful vine with many, many branches in full expression, rooted in love, strengthed by pruning of hate, greed and self-absorption and anchored in the chakra of rootedness to support the expansion of love and consciousness.  It is a vineyard where we all belong, we all matter and where all voices are heard, where the Father of all is the energy of love that holds us all together on this earth.  Celebrate the prunings of your life; therein lies the root of even more abundant life!


I leave you today with this poem by Rumi, which celebrates Father’s Day in a whole new way:


The Root Of The Root Of Your Self



Don’t go away, come near.

Don’t be faithless, be faithful.

Find the antidote in the venom.

Come to the root of the root of yourself.


Molded of clay, yet kneaded

from the substance of certainty,

a guard at the Treasury of Holy Light —

come, return to the root of the root of your Self.


Once you get hold of selflessness,

You’ll be dragged from your ego

and freed from many traps.

Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.


You are born from the children of God’s creation,

but you have fixed your sight too low.

How can you be happy?

Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.


You were born from a ray of God’s majesty

and have the blessings of a good star.

Why suffer at the hands of things that don’t exist?

Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.


You are a ruby embedded in granite.

How long will you pretend it’s not true?

We can see it in your eyes.

Come to the root of the root of your Self.


You came here from the presence of that fine Friend,

a little drunk, but gentle, stealing our hearts

with that look so full of fire; so,

come, return to the root of the root of your Self.


Blessings on the Path, Happy Father’s Day,

Rev. Deb