John 15: 1-8

Illustrated New Resouces

  • You Are the Branches

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The apse mosaic in the Church of San Clemente in Rome is a crucifixion-turned-tree-of-life. From an acanthus plant at the foot of the cross grows a vine that curls around the crucifixion scene and throughout the entire half-dome of the apse. At the base of the plant four deer drink from the four rivers of paradise. And inscription at the bottom of the half-dome says [in part], Ecclesiam Cristi viti similabimus isti quam lex arentem, set crus facit esse virentem... (“We have compared the Church of Christ to this vine; the Law made it wither but the Cross made it bloom.”). Christ is the vine. And "You (we...the church) are the branches," Christ continues. The designers of the church seem to have gotten that second part, too. The circular vine pattern on the mosaic is echoed in the circular pattern of the floor mosaic running down the middle of the choir. The pattern visually connects the Christ-vine in the apse with the congregation-branches standing in the church. Connected. And if they aren't connected, then the branches, the congregation, can't do anything.
  • More Than Just Surviving

    by Danny Stone
    Our “Pandemic Year” has forced us to adapt to new challenges and change our ways. What adaptations and changes will you keep? What will you prune? Imagine being born into a pandemic and having the same pestilence return when you are 18, 28, 39, 42, and 44. These outbreaks are particularly. nasty and can easily kill 1 out of 5 in a community. As you would expect, each episode comes with quarantines and restrictions. Markets, gatherings, restaurants and theaters are closed for extended periods. Sound familiar? How would you react if you were a locally famous, London playwright forced into isolation? Would you sulk? Or would you write Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest? William Shakespeare’s career and life were marked by six eruptions of the bubonic plague. He survived, adapted, and incorporated battling the disease into his plays...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Remaining, Requiring, Receiving

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis)
  • *I Am the Vine

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("At the time of Charles Schulz's death, his biographer said, 'He spent a lifetime perfecting failure'. In fact, Schultz himself once wrote, 'All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away..." and other illustrations)
  • Rooted in Jesus

    by Sil Galvan
    One day a mother was having lunch with her husband and their son, Mike, at their Los Angeles home. Mike was a navy helicopter pilot who was visiting from San Diego. At one point during the lunch, Mike and his father began talking about the helicopter that Mike flew.
  • Easter 5B

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Abiding Fruit

    by Jim McCoy
    ("One of the intrepid followers of Jesus who grew up at Koinonia was Greg Wittkamper, the subject of the recently published The Class of '65. From the beginning Wittkamper and the other youth from Koinonia Farms were treated as outcasts among their school peers. At the beginning of Greg's senior year, the fall of 1964, Americus High School was desegregated. On the tense first day of school, Greg arrived in the same vehicle with the four African-American teenagers as a show of solidarity..." and other quotes)
  • Exegetical Notes (John 15:1-8)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Easter 5B)

    by Various Authors
    Recently we experienced severe thunderstorms with very high winds. My neighbor had a tree which the winds tore off several large limbs. Because the limbs were large it took him several days to get them cut up and removed. There was one very noticeable thing about the limbs that lie there on the ground tore from the trunk of the tree. They died. This may sound very trite and you may be saying, "well of course they did! A limb cannot live separated from the tree." I too know this fact, but seeing them lying there dying drilled home the reality, "apart from the tree the limb cannot survive." This fact of nature was used by Jesus as a metaphor for the Christian life...

    and several more

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Growing Toward the Light of God

    by Delmer Chilton
    My mother was, and my wife is, an inveterate gardener in the English mold that I call “out messing in the yard.” My earliest memories of my mother are of her dragging the hose around the house to water her various bushes and flowers. When my sons were preschoolers, I often came home to find them decked out in sun hats and gloves, pulling a little plastic gardening wagon, following and imitating their mother as she puttered about tending to flowers and bushes in the parsonage...
  • Dealing with Drama

    by Owen Griffiths
    Rise is about a small town in Pennsylvania and a well-meaning English teacher who takes over the high school drama program. It’s got all the elements of the realistic drama faced by Middle America. There’s the deeply-slashed public school budget, the kid who comes out as transgender, the couple getting divorced, the overstressed teens, the pregnant teen, the beleaguered single mom, the kid with a drinking problem, the Muslim immigrant who has to keep a low profile, the polarized community, etc...
  • The Vine and Branches: On Music, Microbes and Memory

    by Janet Hunt
    As I was driving across town this morning with a whole host of thoughts competing for my attention, this song came on the radio. “Pray” is performed by Sam Smith. As you can hear, the lyrics tell a story as old as time itself. It is a song of repentance and of yearning for connection to something greater than oneself. The singer has come to the end of his hope, and opts to pray: “There’s dread in my heart and fear in my bones and I just don’t know what to say. Maybe I’ll pray.” Only he goes on to say this even though he has never believed in the One to whom he is praying. In fact, he asserts that regardless of where our various journeys lead, “Everyone prays in the end.”...
  • Abide with Me

    by Arlette Benoit Joseph
    Abide with Me is a familiar hymn that Henry Francis Lyte penned while battling tuberculosis. What a thrilling prayer request: for God to abide with us always, and even more so when the “darkness deepens” or “other helpers fail.” But what does it mean for God to abide with us? Later in Abide with Me, Lyte mentions the dimming of earth’s joys: Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me...
  • Apart from Me (John)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Vines, vineyards, fruit of the vine. All are familiar to readers of scripture, appearing in parables, stories and analogies. In John 15.1-8 (Easter 5B) the vine is used to symbolize Christ, but it is not a symbol in isolation. Rather relationship is the order of the day. Before the vine was the vinegrower - the first person of the Trinity. From the vine grow branches - followers of Christ. So there is both the antecedent and the descendant of the vine. Before and after. Relationship...
  • Easter 5B (2018)

    by Paula Murray
    TK, the six-month old kitten currently ravaging our household, has just learned, or relearned, a valuable lesson; gravity is a constant. Not a constant as in the constants that fill equations or constitute some part of our thinking of things astronomical, but constant in the normal use of that word as in, always there. The cat, young, healthy, and agile took a flying leap from a cat tree at a largish spider doing a bit of weaving on the ceiling above the back door. His joy at actually nailing the bug was obvious, but so was his consternation as he plunged the 9 feet between the ceiling and the floor. It does not matter how extraordinary the flying leap, in the end, gravity will have its way with you. Gravity has its way with all of us, as any of us over a particular age can attest. Everything has a downward trajectory, everything, including chins and bellies and so on. That's the sad truth about gravity, but the good thing about gravity is this, your feet will always hit the floor when you get out of bed and never the ceiling. Your faith in gravity can be absolute, so long as you are abiding on earth. Would that we were as good at abiding in faith in Jesus Christ as we are in gravity!...
  • Fruit and Friends: On Visiting in a Church

    by Larry Patten
    When living in Wisconsin, I swung by to visit a church family on their dairy farm. I wanted to see how the cancer treatments for the mother/wife were going. When I arrived, she was cutting their expansive lawn with a riding mower. A bandana covered her head, hiding hair loss. She stopped the mower, greeted me, and I asked one question: “How are you doing?” For the next moments, she wept. With her family she had to be strong, but through my simple question, the good and bad news freely flowed. With me, she could be scared. She didn’t have to careful with words, like she was with her kids and grandkids. I probably said a few other things, but I only recall my first question . . . and a deeply felt sense of being faithful friends...
  • Love and Death: Consumed, Burned or Possessed?

    by Andrew Prior
    I drafted an essay which began with Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; and the greatest of these is love." The word for remain is μένει, and it is the same word which, in John 15, is usually translated as abide. I have found much more than I expected in this word. In the essay, I wanted to say that the Faith can be distilled down to love; God's love for us, and our love for others. I also wanted to say that when I could believe in nothing else, love still remained. In that sense, μένει involves persistence. In the sense that it is used in John 15 and translated as abide, there is a strong sense of intimacy; in verse 14, Jesus will say, "You are my friends…" Paul's use of the word in 1 Corinthians 13 implies something underlying, or foundational about life and faith; when all is said and done, there is love. It remains. It is the foundation, the basis of life...
  • Disney and the Gospels: Frozen

    by Beth Quick
    Frozen is another one of the newer Disney films that breaks out of the prince-rescues-princess mold, even poking fun at those tropes. It reminds us that acts of true love take many forms. The truest love in this story is the love between sisters, and especially in Anna’s willingness to put herself in harm’s way, to offer even her own life in order to save her sister. This is after her sister, hurting and angry, rejects years of Anna’s attempts to grow close to her again. It makes me wonder - who do we truly love? Who would we make sacrifices for? Are there some for whom we would even give our own lives if it was necessary? When we think about sacrifice and true love in light of our faith, from our perspective as followers of Jesus, of course our thoughts turn to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, when he was arrested, tried, and crucified...

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2017

  • The Dude Abides

    Youtube Video from the Big Lebowski
  • Looks Getting in the Way

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("A story is told of former US President Harry Truman, near the end of his life. After he left office in 1952, he moved back to his home in the town of Independence, Missouri and returned to the life of an ordinary citizen. A minister tells of a cold, February day late in Truman's life. The minister was officiating at the burial of an elderly gentleman. It was cold, the wind was blowing and no one was there for the service. But just before the appointed time, Truman's car pulled up, by that time driven by a single Secret Service agent. Truman got out and slowly walked, with the help of a stick, to the grave side...")
  • Embraced into the Vine

    by Susan Palo Cherwien
    ("At the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in south Minneapolis, a bronze sculpture hangs above the baptismal font. Life-Tree, by the late Paul T. Granlund, is based on John 15:5, 'I am the vine; you are the branches'. It depicts a tree with four branches growing out of a central trunk. Each branch represents a stage of human life...")
  • Easter 5B (2015)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "In June of 1977, in the auditorium at Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC, I and about 20 others were ordained as deacons in the United Methodist Church – in those days a first step toward possible future ordination as Elders. Bishop Joseph Thomas preached that night and said something I have never forgotten. 'Sisters and brothers in Christ, after this night, the Holy Spirit will lead you somewhere you don’t want to go. If you wanted to go there, the Spirit would be unnecessary.'..."
  • Vines and Trees

    by Jane Anne Ferguson
    ("Gail Ramshaw writes in Treasures Old and New; Images of the Lectionary that the biblical image of the vine is an extension of the tree of life. It resonates with the tree imagery in the prophets, the Jesse tree in Isaiah, and the image of monarch in Ezekiel. Three stories surfaced for me this week among the richness of tree of life tales....")
  • The Vine and the Branches and My Ash Tree

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I had to have my ash tree taken down last summer. It's just a guess, of course, but it likely stood on that spot for more than a century. Only a little bug called an emerald ash borer got the best of it. This insidious insect digs its way under the bark of the ash tree and essentially cuts off the nutrients which would otherwise make their way to the tree's branches and limbs. And I wonder at what things get under my 'bark', under my skin...")
  • The Lusitania: Vanderbilt, His Valet, and the Vine

    by Terrence Klein
    ("A hundred years ago, many an American man might have dreamt of being Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt I, the son, and primary heir, of the late Cornelius, whose death in 1899 had left Alfred a rich man. Divorced, rumors flying, Vanderbilt was a bit of a rake: tall and lean, with dark eyes and hair, and a taste for expensive suits. Ronald Denyer, Vanderbilt's valet, might have envied his boss, might have wondered what God had in mind for such a charmed life...")
  • Abiding in God

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("I hosted a visit to church on Friday for a class of seven year olds from Seal School. There is one little boy in the class who has special needs. This little lad often sees the world in a completely different way to everyone else, and it's not always easy to know what is going on in his mind. As he left church at the end of the visit, he turned to me with a thoughtful expression on his face. I wondered what he was going to say. 'You know,' he said, 'you're beginning to look a bit like God'...")
  • Christ in David Jones

    by Andrew Prior
    ("Overnight I had been thinking over an excursion well out of my comfort zone into David Jones. It, too, raised strong feelings. The refined environment, so carefully designed to appeal to the 1% of Adelaide failed to attract me. Of course, in my Target jeans and t-shirt I was well out of place, but something about the place struck me as almost laughable"... and several quotes)
  • Fruitful

    by Nancy Rockwell
    What shall we make of Bruce Jenner? He has produced six children, the fruitfulness Christians cherish most, for which there is a public blessing at the altar. He has won an Olympic gold medal, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes plus a myriad of churches would hold him up as a paragon of fruitfulness in this, another fruitfulness of the body.
  • The Right Connection

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("I used to pastor in Mississippi. When my sons, James and Jonathan, were just toddlers, my mom and dad would come two or three times a year and spend several days with us. One visit is burned into my mind forever. We had a couch that pulled out into a bed. Whenever Mom and Dad would come, James would sleep with my mom and Jonathan would sleep with my dad. It thrilled me to watch my mom and dad lie in bed with my kids and tell them stories and play with them and fall asleep with them....")
  • Fruitful Branches

    by David Vryhof
    ("I remember watching a young boy at dinner time, struggling to cut a piece of meat. He tried and tried, but his hands and arms were simply too weak to be effective. As I watched, one of the staff members came up behind him and reaching around, laid her hands on his and began cutting the meat. Suddenly he was able to do what he could not do on his own, with her strength joined to his, the two strengths becoming one, and it being unclear where his strength left off and hers began...")
  • Fruit of the Vine

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Danny Simpson lived in Ottawa Canada. The year was 1990, and Danny was desperate. He didn't have the resources he needed to survive. He was short on cash, and shorter on skills. He had run out of time and options, so Danny took the gun that had been handed down through his family's line, went to a bank, and robbed it of $6,000 in a hold-up..." and other short illustrations)

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

  • Neither Heaven Nor Hell

    by Benjamin Anthony
    ("Writing in the 7th and 8th centuries, the Venerable Bede is considered one of the great scholars and perhaps the most influential historian of the Church. Notable for his work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People," he has bequeathed to successive generations of Christians a body of work that gives us a glimpse into Christian thought's evolving concerns...")
  • A Word from the Vineyard of the Lord

    by Hubert Beck
    "A mentor for children coming out of unstable homes tells of asking a child, 'Where do you live?' The child momentarily had a puzzled look and then asked, 'Do you mean, "where do I stay?"' The distinction was enlightening to the mentor. The child had little sense of permanence in residence. She only 'stayed' at this place or the other. The mentor 'lived' in an established place of residence..."
  • Boldly in the Name of the Lord

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A woman was pregnant with her second child, but it seemed the baby had come at the worst possible moment. Her finances were terrible and communication with the baby's dad even worse. She was seriously considering an abortion. Several months later the doctor told her that she had placenta previa, a condition which may cause serious morbidity and mortality to both child and mother...")
  • Love One Another

    by L. Gregory Bloomquist
    Interesting pictures of pruned vines.
  • I Am the Vine

    You Tube Video by Causeway Coast Vineyard
  • Springtime In God's Garden: Time for Wounding

    by Rob Elder
    Steven Covey tells of riding on a subway one Sunday morning when the otherwise peaceful and quiet car was invaded by a man and his large brood of children who proceeded to race up and down the aisles, making noise, bumping into passengers. The father sat, staring down, doing nothing. Covey, a bit indignant, finally decided to say something: “Sir, don’t you think maybe it would be wise for you to say something to your children – settle them down – the passengers are getting annoyed.” The father looked up and said, “Oh! I suppose so. I just didn’t notice. We just left the hospital. Their mother died an hour ago. And I don’t know what to do – how to respond – And I suppose they don’t know how to react either.”[3] Snip, snip, the superior attitude that presumes to know the motivations behind people’s actions are pruned away and community – an opportunity to abide in Jesus as we abide in each other, opens up...
  • Easter 5B (2012)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Frederick Buechner has written that faith should be seen as a verb and not a noun because faith is always about the sacred journey along life's varied pathways. Others point out that in the Greek of the New Testament people are not said to believe in something but rather they believe into something, again hinting at movement, the risky stepping out onto thin air...")
  • Easter 5B (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("'Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.' Some of you will recognize those words as the lyrics to the Simon & Garfunkel hit song Mrs. Robinson. And just in case you're too young to remember, Joe DiMaggio was one of baseball's biggest stars back in the 1940's and 50's...")
  • *Abiding in Love

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • The Church of the True Vine

    by David Jenkins
    ("Henri Nouwen ends one of his books with a prayer. It is the prayer of Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jewish woman, written during the height of the Nazi's persecution of the Jews in Holland. 'Dear God, Tonight for the first time I lay in the dark with burning eyes as scene after scene of human suffering passed before me. I shall promise you one thing, God, just one very small thing...")
  • When the Devil Turns 'Round

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Robert Bolt's play about the martyrdom of Saint Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons, has seen a lot of them come and go since its premiere in 1960, perhaps because so much of its dialogue is worth the remembering. Consider this scene. Richard Rich, the man who will betray him, has just left More's home. More's wife Alice and his daughter Margaret sense the treachery of which Rich is capable...")
  • I Am the Vine

    You Tube Video by Ken Medema
  • Now Connecting

    by Rick Miles
    In Hampton Court, near London, there is a grapevine that is around 1,000 years old. Some of its branches are 200 feet long, and its single root is at least two feet thick. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, that one vine produces several tons of grapes every year. Even though some of the smaller branches are as much as 200 feet from the main stem, they bear plenty of fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them. The great truth which Jesus is trying to tell us is that if we want life in all its fullness, then we are to be always connected to him, the “true vine,” the very source of life. “Abide in me as I abide in you,” Jesus said. We draw our life from him. Once we are connected with him we have life. Just as the branch takes its life from the vine, so we find abundant life in Christ...
  • Vine and the Branches

    You Tube Video from Muddy River Media
  • Easter 5B (2009)

    by Paul O'Reilly
    A member of a certain parish in a cold country to the North of here, who previously had been attending Mass regularly, suddenly stopped going. After a few weeks, the priest decided to visit him. It was a cold evening and the priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing coal fire. Guessing the reason for the priest’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited...
  • Holy Heliotropism

    by Ron Pietz
    ("Some plants can be tied to stakes to force them to grow in a certain way. This staking can be compared to the danger in secular society to conform to the ways of the world. To be conformed to the world is to be tied to the stakes of popularity, to lose your soul in the effort to go along to get along, to live a life of doing what others think you should do...")
  • On Naming the Present Moment

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("There's a story told about Anna Akhmatova, a Russian poet. During Stalin's purges, thousands of Russians had been imprisoned and she, along with others, was standing in line outside of a prison, waiting to leave food and letters for loved ones inside...")
  • Providence and the Conspiracy of Accidents

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Good wines are aged in cracked old barrels. That's what makes them rich and mellow. They can, of course, go sour during the process. That's the risk. The soul works in the same way and, thus, we might ask whether failure and loneliness, as they shape our souls, need to be re-imagined aesthetically: Are maturity and transformation, growth in beauty, not about more than success, health, having it all, and looking like a million dollars?...")
  • No Greater Love Than This

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time there was a teacher in New York who got the idea of giving each of his students three blue ribbons. The ribbons had gold letters which said, 'Who I am makes a difference'. Each student was to keep one for themselves, then give one away to someone they wanted to honor or show appreciation. Then that person was to give the ribbon to yet another..." and another illustration)
  • Easter 5B (2012)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Terry Waite, the Anglican Church representative who was held hostage in Beirut, Lebanon for 1,763 days, was in the thoughts and prayers of people around the world throughout his captivity. On the second anniversary of Terry's kidnapping, when it was not even certain that he was still alive, a woman in Bedford, England, acted in faith. In doing so, she made a big difference in Terry's life....")
  • Are You Attached?

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Chaplain Ernst Gordon in his book Through the Valley of the Quai tells of the hardship prisoners of War during World War II as they were imprisoned by the Japanese army. These men wrote Chaplain Gordon were reduced to skeletons, riddled with disease, and the only way they could survive was by the law of the jungle,everyman for himself...")

Illustrated Resources from 2006 to 2008

  • The Branches

    by Luke Bouman
    "The morning dawned clear, no hint in the sky of the mayhem of the previous night. I was a guest in Austin at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, enjoying their hospitality and library for some writing that I needed to do. The days were quiet and productive, but the nights were a different story..."
  • Easter 5B (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("But in a 60 Minutes interview some time back, the songwriter, Paul Simon, talked a bit about the song Mrs. Robinson. At one point he said that sometime after the song was released, he received a letter from Joe DiMaggio in which DiMaggio expressed his befuddlement at what in the world that song could mean...")
  • Your Purpose in Life

    by David Gallimore
    ("We understand something about what Mamie Adams was talking about. She always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were so friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long...")
  • Branches on the Vine

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A man once planted cucumbers in his backyard. He had made sure that the ground was well prepared. He bought the best cucumber seedlings and set to work with the skill of a man who had planted cucumbers for many seasons. To his delight, soon he had cucumber vines all across his back yard. The plants were green and healthy. One day, he noticed that some of the leaves didn’t look as green as the others...")
  • Easter 5B (2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a parish decided it was time and long past time to remodel their church. Virtually everyone thought it was a good idea, with the exception of those who opposed everything anyway...")
  • Downed Tree Limbs

    by Brice Hughes
    ("C.S. Lewis wrote: 'God has designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy without bothering about religion...")
  • Much Fruit

    by Edward Markquart
    (includes numerous photos)
  • The Da Vinci Code

    by David Martyn
    A few years ago Tony Campolo flew to Hawaii to speak at a conference. He checks into his hotel and tries to get some sleep. Unfortunately, his internal clock wakes him at 3:00 a.m. The night is dark, the streets are silent, the world is asleep, but Tony is wide-awake and his stomach is growling. He gets up and prowls the streets looking for a place to get some bacon and eggs for an early breakfast. Everything is closed except for a grungy dive in an alley. He goes in and sits down at the counter. The fat guy behind the counter comes over and asks, “What d’ya want?” Well, Tony isn’t so hungry anymore so eying some donuts under a plastic cover he says, “I’ll have a donut and black coffee.” As he sits there munching on his donut and sipping his coffee at 3:30, in walk eight or nine provocative, loud prostitutes just finished with their night’s work...
  • The Vine and the Branches

    by Philip McLarty
    Richard Halverson, a Presbyterian minister who served for many years as Chaplain of the United States Senate in Washington is noted for his parting benediction. It goes like this: "You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there. He has a purpose in your being there. Christ, who dwells in you, has something he wants to do through you where you are. Believe this and go in his grace and love and power."...
  • Easter 5B (2006)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("A member of a certain parish in a cold country to the North of here, who previously had been attending Mass regularly, suddenly stopped going. After a few weeks, the priest decided to visit him. It was a cold evening and the priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing coal fire. Guessing the reason for the priest's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited...")
  • From Alienation to Mysticism

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("Over 30 years ago when I was a seminarian in Cebu, we used to go on excursions right across to the other side of the island. However, we had a problem about these outings. There was one of the seminarians, Big Willie, who was always about 200 meters behind everybody else, and sometimes we'd have to stop to let him catch up with us...")
  • A Quest

    by Jim Standiford
    ("There is a story about a homeless man in England. One day he spotted the sign of a pub. It was called 'Momma and the Dragon'. He went to the back door and knocked. When a heavyset man in a stained white apron opened the door, the hungry man asked for any food he might spare...")
  • Well-Connected Christians

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("The giant sequoia tree can measure hundreds of feet in height and 10 or more feet in girth and thousands of years in age, yet sequoias have very shallow root systems. The way they withstand the winds and stress of so many years is they intertwine their roots with others, thus drawing their strength from each other..." and several other quotes)
  • The Gift of Community

    by Ann Svennungsen
    (includes several short stories)
  • The Road to Wholeness

    by Keith Wagner
    ("We pastors spend a lot of time of the road. One thing that I really appreciate is my cell phone. While driving I can catch up on phone calls, make appointments or plans for the future and do follow-up calls for parishioners. It’s a great system when it works. Unfortunately, there are times when my cell phone drops the call...")
  • Be Attached: Proclaim and Do!

    by Tim Zingale
    ("'Chaplain Ernst Gordon in his book Through the Valley of the Quai tells of the hardship prisoners of War during World War II as they were imprisoned by the Japanese army. These men wrote Chaplain Gordon were reduced to skeletons, riddled with disease, and the only way they could survive was by the law of the jungle,everyman for himself...")
  • Illustrations (Easter 5B)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("A dusty traveler walked up the steps of a small, neatly kept farmhouse. 'Hello, what do you want?' asked the farm wife greeting him at the door. The stranger answered only with a question, 'Does God live here?' The woman was startled. She thought she might have misunderstood. Once again she asked: 'What is it that you want?'...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Hanging in There

    by C. Robert Allred
    ("However, from reading the cartoon strip Dilbert, I know that there are totally unproductive and useless employees who are still drawing a paycheck and reporting for work, who are broken spokes in the wheel. Usually, the only hope of turning a failing company into a productive enterprise is to conduct a reorganization......")
  • The True Vine

    by Mickey Anders
    ("My second association with pruning comes from Walt Disney World. While visiting there with my children, I noticed that they had hedge-type plants growing in amazing shapes. They had one that looked just like Mickey Mouse and another like Donald Duck. By trimming the bushes regularly, they were able to shape the plants to look the way they wanted them to..." and other illustrations)
  • No Sprinkler System

    from Biblical Studies
    ("Dr. Howard Hendricks tells of a small town in Texas where one year the school burned to the ground with the loss of more than 200 lives, because they didn’t have a sprinkler system. They began to rebuild after the initial shock had passed and called in the foremost company in fire prevention equipment to install a sprinkler system...")
  • Easter 5B (2006)

    by Machrina Blasdell
    ("The scripture passage we call 'The Beatitudes' -- or as the writer Robert Schuller publicized them, the Be (Happy) Attitudes -- is much preferred over Jesus throwing the money-changers out of the temple. Jesus welcoming children is more often cited as descriptive of our Lord than his pronouncement "I come not to bring peace, but a sword...")
  • Ask Whatever You Want

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Once a young woman was pregnant with her second child. But it seemed the baby had come at the worst possible moment. Her finances were terrible and communication with the baby's dad even worse. She was seriously considering an abortion. However, she remembered seeing someone wearing the Precious Feet pin...")
  • The Key Ingredients for a Fine Wine

    by L. Gregory Bloomquist
    ("I make my own wine. I used to think that I made pretty good wine. Then one day a friend and colleague came to visit. I had forgotten that he was a wine connoisseur. With some trepidation, I served him some of my wine. He looked at it, sniffed the bouquet, tasted it and set the glass down. There was a long silence as I waited for his thoughts...")
  • Easter 6A (2005)

    by Sarah Dylan Breuer
    ("An experience that always comes to mind when I think about that question was my time in Kenya, where I found an amazingly high value placed on hospitality. In remote places in the bush there, a traveler coming across a family dwelling might have a conversation like this...")
  • Remaining in Christ (2001)

    by Adrian Dieleman
    ("The American Red Cross was gathering supplies, medicine, clothing, food, and the like for the suffering people of an African drought and civil war. Inside one of the boxes that showed up at the collection depot one day was a letter. It said, 'We have recently been converted and because of our conversion we want to try to help. We won't ever need these again...")
  • Root Yourself In Christ

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Many of us are familiar with the sad American Indian story about a young man who found an eagle's egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of prairie chickens and grew up with them. All its life, the misplaced eagle thought it was a prairie chicken and did only what the prairie chickens did...")
  • Not Good If Detached

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("A former minister at Metropolitan United Church in London tells the story of how, after he had been there for several years, he met a member of his church one day in the parking lot. The parking lot is rather small and during the week many people attempt to park there to avoid large fees at the downtown lots. His spot was clearly marked by a sign 'for the Minister'...")
  • I Will Not Leave You With No Comfort

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
    ("Dom DeLuise, the comedian, knows something about dealing with depression. 'People who are feeling down,' he says, 'don't take advice. The nature of their illness is that they don't take advice...If I were to give advice, I would tell them to find somebody else who is in trouble..." and other illustrations)
  • The Fruit of Love

    by Scott Grant
    ("During a rehearsal of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the musicians under the direction of Arturo Toscanini responded to the maestro's wishes with particular sensitivity. The musicians were awed by Toscanini's direction and gave him a thunderous ovation at the conclusion of the rehearsal. Toscanini, though, tried desperately to stop them...")
  • Easter 5B (1997)

    by Chris Gray
    "In the Charles Schultz's comic strip Peanuts, Linus and Charlie Brown are all bundled up with caps and coats on a snowy, wintry day. They spot Snoopy shivering in the cold. Desiring to comfort him, they walk over to him. Linus speaks first, 'Be of good cheer, Snoopy.'..."
  • Easter 5B (2003)

    by Roger Haugen
    ("Someone once said that the secret of pruning is to trick the plant into thinking that it is dying so it will produce great amounts of fruit. This is language that we know, it is the language of faith. We are to 'die to self', 'those who love their life will lose it'. This is the language of baptism...")
  • Abiding In the Vine

    by Peter L. Haynes
    ("About the middle of the second century a violent persecution against the Christians broke out in Asia. One victim was the Bishop of Smyrna, a man named Polycarp. Polycarp was brought before the tribunal of the proconsul who told him to have regard for his age, swear by the genius of Caesar and to say, 'Away with the atheists,' referring, of course, to his fellow Christians..." and another illustration)
  • Canopy Management

    from Homiletics Online
    ("When Bob and Patty Brower traveled in France in the '70s, they fell in love with two things: the wineries and the French Country chateaus. They came home and packed up their belongings on the East Coast and headed for California, looking for a spot to start a winery of their own. They settled on 16 acres tucked away in the hills of Monterey County..." and other illustrations)
  • Cut Off No More

    by David Martyn
    ("Dan Wakefield recalls a time when he sat next to Nouwen at a conference on spirituality and art, and feared he might nod off from boredom. Then a woman at the head of the table complained that she couldn't continue being a Catholic because of her disagreement over the politics of the church. Suddenly coming to life, Nouwen leaned across his plate to speak to her...")
  • *Attached to Da Vine

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Fred Craddock is a world-famous preacher, who tells a similar story about the small church he served as a student pastor. The church was in a community in eastern Tennessee about 20 miles from Oak Ridge. This was in the early days of the nuclear industry and both Oak Ridge and the atomic energy industry were booming. Craddock says, people '...were coming from everywhere...")
  • Easter 6A (2002)

    by Joe Parrish
    ("Researchers at Amherst College in Massachusetts tried a simple experiment with a squash plant. When the squash was about the size of a person's head, the researchers put a metal band around it that was attached to instruments that would tell them how much pressure the squash was exerting as it tried to grow against the constraint of the band...")
  • If My Words Abide in You

    by John Piper
    ("What is the most urgent need in the church of the Western world today? That's the question that Don Carson poses at the beginning of his new book A Call to Spiritual Reformation. It's a good question to pose at the beginning of the new year. Is it the need for purity in sexual matters, he asks, in a culture obsessed with sex at almost every turn? Is it integrity and generosity in the financial arena...")
  • Mighty Maid

    Poem by Christine Schenk, CSJ
  • *A Practical Illustration

    by Thom Shuman
    ("As part of our hope that everyone will feel included, our CE chair spent a great deal of time drawing a huge vine with lots of branches on the walls on each side of the hallway in our educational wing...")
  • God's Vineyard

    by Ray C. Stedman
    ("A friend of mine passed through Palo Alto this week on his way to Colorado to participate in a very unusual ranch. This ranch is owned and operated by a mutual friend and is designed as a guest-ranch for wealthy and affluent people. The man who owns it has a heart of concern for what he calls 'the up-and-outers'...")
  • Staying Connected

    by Alex Thomas
    ("When Sam Rayburn discovered just how ill he was and near death, he surprised his colleagues in Congress by announcing that he was going home to Bonham Texas. Why? Why go to such a not-even-on-the-map kind of place for medical tests and treatment when the best medical facilities of the world were available in Washington and the East Coast?...")
  • Where Do You Abide?

    by Mark Trotter
    ("I was reminded of a powerful story that illustrates this, how this knowledge about ourselves can transform our lives. It is a story that is told by Peter Storey, a bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa. He told about Popo Molefe and Terror Lekota, two Africans who were arrested and jailed during the apartheid regime in South Africa...")
  • Fruit of the Vine

    by Keith Wagner
    ("While hiking in the Smokey Mountains one fall we came upon a huge vine. It was 6-8 inches in diameter. Imagine if it could talk. It could tell you of the civil war, the revolutionary war, and countless stories of people who had passed by on the trail. What really impressed me was its enormous size and the fact that it had withstood hundreds of years of harsh winters and hot summers, storms and all sorts of conditions...")
  • Proper Connections

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("According to William Willimon: 'In the Yarra Valley of Australia, just outside Melbourne, someone visited the vineyards of an outstanding winery. There, at the very beginning of spring, what amazed the tourist was how bare the vines looked...")

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