Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 Jn 4:7-10
Jn 15:9-17

Sagging Vines
This past week I was full of business. The embarrassing fact about last week was that my life was full with workshops talking about self care to other professionals. Each workshop was full of practical ways to care for oneself spiritually, emotionally and physically. Each workshop was enjoyed and appreciated by the participants. I am grateful this was true. However, after the third workshop I was exhausted. I had no ability to prune my own schedule.

As I shuffled through the last part of my work week, I kept thinking about God’s ability to prune the vines in order to assist in their vitality and ability to bear fruit. Knowing this, I was withering on the vine. I realized in hindsight in the midst of doing good things, my own garden was overgrown.

In today’s gospel we are invited by Jesus to love one another. We are asked not as slaves but as friends to enter this invitation. So this is the glitch for me, I am feeling embarrassed that I ran myself over by my own scheduling last week. I find myself saying, “oh yah right, but who am I to speak of love to others, when I am struggling with loving myself?” In the first reading I am encouraged by the apostle Peter, who also struggles with mission of Jesus to love. Good old Peter.

In the first reading Peter meets his limitations and is again invited by the God of great surprises to love folks he deems as not worthy of the message. Peter sees that God is bigger than his vision. Last week’s over-scheduling does not limit what God calls me to this week. This week’s hindsight can prune the weary vines and allow the branches new growth.

I think it is easy for me to shut down the bigness of God’s ability to love me when my scheduling fails balance. Yet God is not hampered by my self-judgments any more than God was limited by Peter’s vision.

We are invited as friends to love others. We are asked to love others as we love ourselves. In this week, I am challenged to be open to a God who loves me into wholeness despite my scheduling and then in turn to be that love to each person I meet.