Devotion for the Fifth Sunday in April

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” (John 15:8)
Too often in the church we have this language we throw around that I wonder whether anyone outside the church would understand. Indeed, I wonder whether we really understand it: words like “salvation,” “being saved,” “sanctify,” “holy,” or – as in the verse above – “glory” or “glorified.” What does it mean to give glory? What does it mean to be “glorified”?
The Greek word used here can mean “to hold in honor,” but that meaning primarily happens in Scripture. When the word is commonly used in Greek, it meant “to think” or “to imagine.”
What would happen if we changed how we interpreted this one single word? We would then hear this verse from Jesus as follows:
“My Father is imagined by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
God is imagined or thought of by the lives we live in the world. People will imagine and think of God as we follow Jesus, as we love others as Jesus loved us, as we dwell with God and live out of that dwelling.
There is a saying that bears worth repeating here: Many times the only Bible that people will see is the Bible portrayed in your lives.
What Bible will others see in your life? What God will others encounter in your life? Will it be a God who loves them, accepts them, embraces them? Or will it be a god who judges them, rejects them, turns them away?
Where will the God of Jesus be found or thought of or imagined? If not in my life, then whose? If not in this time, then when?
God, I confess that too many times I have not allowed your love to be evident in my life. Renew my faith, renew my love for you and others, so that people will imagine you, think of you, through your love flowing out through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
In Christ,
Pastor David Armstrong-Reiner