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Easter 5

Saint Margaret’s

Anglican Church

Budapest, Hungary

Acts 8:26-40 Psalm 22:24-30 1 John 4:7-21 John


I am the vine; you are the branches.

Curiously, Jesus in the Gospel of John tells no

parables or stories as he does so frequently in

the other Gospel accounts, yet in spite of this

over half the Gospel of John consists of

dialogues and long theological discourses, or sermons, of our Lord, such as that

found in Chapter Fifteen, from which our Gospel account today is taken.

“I am the true vine,” says Jesus of himself in this, the last of these great discourses

in the Gospel of John. And make no mistake about it. “I am” are the operative

words here. By the way, there are some seven or eight such I Am sayings of Jesus

scattered throughout the Gospel of John and found nowhere else, and this is the

last of them, giving it in a sense added emphasis or importance.

“I am the true


” Jesus repeats.

The other I-Am sayings of course will be familiar to you as well: I am the way, the

truth, and the life; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the Gate; among others. And

while the professors ponder what exactly to make of these so-called I-Am Sayings

or Statements, the clear implication for us has to be that Jesus really is the “I am.”

He really is the I am of Exodus. He is, I am who am. Yet, unlike in Exodus, in these

I-Am statements in the Gospel of John, he also gives us an insight into his divine

nature, and ours as well. He answers the question so often posed to him in

Scripture and throughout the ages, Who are you, Lord…?

And he answers the question in image or metaphor, almost needless to say,

because for us mortals that is virtually the only way to begin to comprehend the

divine. And in the case of the vine, or true vine, he speaks not only of himself and

the Father but of us as well; of our relationship to him and thus to the divine. And

that is also important. So, who are we, we might well ask. Who are we in relation

to Christ…? Well, we are branches. Branches… I suspect each of us has been

called much worse in life.

Jesus calls us the branches; for we live as followers of Christ only if we are part of

the True Vine, only if we are part of Christ himself; only if we are united as one in

that one Vine. In Christ, we become in other words community; the one body in

Christ, as Paul calls us in a metaphor with similar meaning. It is as part of Christ,

part of each other, that we thrive and, as our Lord would have it, bear much fruit.“My Father is glorified by this,” say Jesus, “that you bear much fruit and become

my disciples.”

Now, the Evangelist John later concludes following this last great discourse of our

Lord that, “I still have much more to tell you…” There are in other words more

things that Jesus said and did that John simply could not somehow fit into his

Gospel. I for one would like to know what they are. For one thing, perhaps there

were more I-Am saying than the seven or eight recorded in the Gospel of John.

Which makes me wonder: Maybe our Lord said something like, I am the Annual

General Meeting. For all we know, it could be. He might have said that. Call it the

lost I-Am saying. IMAGM.

But come to think of it, he did say just that already in his metaphor of the vine and

branches. For, when we come together as Church, whether at Eucharist,

fellowship, outreach, or the annual general meeting, we come together as

branches of the true vine; and Christ is there abiding with us. And if we bear much

fruit as a community, and we here at Saint Margaret’s certainly seem to have done

so, it is because we abide in Christ just as he abides in us.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.” Remember that this morning as you sit

through and read the many reports at this year’s Annual General Meeting and

learn of the amazing things this small branch of the Church, this small branch of

the Vine, has done. And remember most especially our small part in bringing the

divine, the I-Am, to reality in our world today.

Remember: IMAGM.


The Rev. Dr. Frank Hegedűs

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