grapes

Abiding Fruit

Fifth Sunday of Easter

John 15:1-8

While admiring a tree in full bloom, Joseph Parker, a Congregational minister in Victorian England, noticed that under the wide-spreading branches there was a huge limb of the tree withering away. He realized that “the same sun that created the blossom was causing the tree branch to wither.”

To the living tree whose roots were struck into the earth the sun was giving life, but to the branch cut away, having nothing but itself to live upon, the sun was pouring down arrows of destruction. The great sun, so hospitably full of light, kind, friendly, was feeding, like a mother-nurse, the living tree, and was killing with pitiless fire the sundered branch.

“As is the double effect of light,” Parker says, “so is the double effect of truth” (Apostolic Life, vol. 1, p. 167).

Parker burns away any sentimentality in what is at stake in “abiding,” and in what “removal” and “pruning” entail. The purpose, after all, is fruit-bearing, which in John’s Gospel is described in Jesus’ response to the Gentiles’ request to see him: ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (12:24). Read more

The Koinonia Story in a Nutshell

Thanks to Church of the Servant King in Eugene, Oregon Koinonia Farm Director Bren Dubay and Ekklesia Project Director Brent Laytham met during Pentecost 2008. Bren was visiting the folks in Eugene to learn how another community shares life together. Brent was there as a guest speaker celebrating the birth of the church with Church of the Servant King. Inspired by Brent’s teaching, Bren promised she’d attend the 2008 Gathering. This led to her coming back in 2009 and co-presenting a workshop, “Doing Business for the Kingdom or the Empire,” with Chi-Ming Chien of Dayspring Technologies.

Many of those involved in the Ekklesia Project know of Koinonia Farm and Clarence Jordan. Clarence, his wife Florence and their friends Mabel and Martin England founded Koinonia (Greek for loving community) in 1942. Inspired by the Book of Acts, they wanted to live in an intentional Christian community and live out their deeply held beliefs drawn from Jesus’ teachings: peacemaking, radical sharing, and brother/ sisterhood among all people. Read more