I’m not really very good at metaphors, but one Sunday many, many years ago, I heard a sermon on One Vine. Essentially this sermon ever since then has become partially a joke and partially a way to remember Jesus. Let me see if I can explain. It seems that I am one of the adult ADDs of the world! Now I know there are many of us—you know you start your day cleaning the living room and find something that goes in the bedroom. So you take it to the bedroom and discover the bed wasn’t made. As you make the bed, you find the seam ripper you’ve been looking for and take it to your sewing area. While there you think “I should really work on….” As you get ready to do that, you find a glass that wasn’t taken back to the kitchen. So you take the glass into the kitchen and see a pile of dirty dish rags where the kids left them after cleaning up the Kool-Aid they spilled. You take those into the laundry room and discover ….. and so on and so on and so on. So by the end of the day you feel like you’re exhausted but when you try to figure out what you’ve done that day, you can’t come up with anything that actually got accomplished!
So this is how things happen. Saturday night DH and I were cleaning the kitchen—well, doing the dishes. Afterwards, I scrubbed down all the cabinets and stove top. I opened the oven and decided I needed to spray it down to clean the inside. I closed it up and forgot about it. Sunday morning, DH asks, “Did you ever finish cleaning out the oven?” “Oh Sh… I’ll start on that now. By the way, can you please get the oven door off for me so I can reach into the back easier?” Well he comes over and tries to do the lift and pull method of taking off the oven door. This is a built in oven so that doesn’t work. So he starts taking screws out of the door. The vent from under the oven came off first. He hands it to me and it’s an immediate, “Oh Yuck” reaction. So I scrubbed it down. The next thing to come off was the handle. It wasn’t too bad, so I set it aside. Then the outside thermal glass comes to me. “Ewww that’s gross! All that grease along the bottom where it’s been in the metal casing.” So of course, that got scrubbed and set aside. Then came the metal casing--OMG, you’d never believe how gross it was—all the dust and grease and who knows what from who knows how many years it’s been there that has worked its way inside of it. So that was the next thing to be scrubbed. There were even pieces of paint that came off the interior of the casing as I scrubbed it clean. By this time I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get to “clean the oven” not thinking about the fact that that was exactly what I was doing!
At this point I have this bare oven door with nothing but the inside piece of thermal glass and metal. And the door is STILL not off! But the metal “window sill” has yuck from where the inside of the oven has been cleaned before and it the dirty water and grease and grime has seeped through. And the area under the oven??? Oh man, I didn’t know you could have dust and lint and crud INSIDE there! So I cleaned all of that out!
So I pulled down the oven door (that STILL is not able to be taken off) and start cleaning the inside of the door. I make the first couple of swipes to wipe it off and walk over to rinse out the sponge and the door slams shut! Crap, now how am I supposed to open it and why did it slam shut? As it turns out, without all the weight of the glass the metal casing, the handle, etc. there isn’t enough weight to hold the door open. I finally find a way to get the door open again and continue to clean the door—holding it open with one hand. I started scrubbing out the bottom of the door, holding the door open with—now I know you all can picture this—with my stomach. Thank heavens DH DIDN’T take a picture of that! He finally says, you take a few minutes break and I’ll put the door back together so it will stay open.
He puts the door back together and then I spent another hour (maybe more) scrubbing out the inside of the oven. I really hate cleaning ovens. I know if I did it more often it wouldn’t be so much trouble. But when you have lasagna that spilled over into the bottom of the oven and then something else spill over on top of that and it has burnt into the oven like lava rock it isn’t fun!
All of this to say, that what I thought was just simply washing the dishes the night before continued into an all morning project. God’s love is like that. He starts out by taking your hand and just walking beside you. Gradually you find that He is not just a friend, but your best friend. Your best friend becomes your confidant and support. You rely on Him for everything and as a result He is there for you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son to us. His Son died on a cross to take on the burden and forgive all of our sins. His Son loves us enough to be there and bring us to our heavenly Father. And we in turn love Him enough to tell others about His amazing love and grace. Just like my oven, the end result is sparkling clean—inside and further inside and out! All the gook and crud has been cleaned out—just as Jesus’ love for us and His death and resurrection has cleaned out all the gunk and crud in us. Our belief in Him, our love for Him, our faith in Him, and our daily walk with Him is what keeps us going. There are times we are mad at results (often from choices we have made) and blame Him. There are times we just don’t understand why things happen and blame Him. But He is such a loving Father that he takes all that we throw at Him and puts His arms around us and loves us still.
Our one vine—from God’s love to giving His Son, to sacrificing His Son on a cross to save us all, to His resurrection, to our love of Him as the Holy Trinity; what a wonderful vine it is. And it is so awesome that sometimes we have the ability to start one project that leads to another to another to another all to take away the gook and crud, whether it is in the yard, in the kitchen, sewing, at work, or whatever. It all helps to remind us that He is also THE vine that stretches and hold us all together in His love; that no matter what we can Fully Rely On God.