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The Rev. Dr. Wiley Stephens

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John 15:1-8

Fifth Sunday of Easter - Year B

May 14, 2006

The Rev. Dr. Wiley Stephens (UMC)

Much of the modern debate on how one obtains spiritual growth or how one finds oneself has led to the modern heresy of thinking of faith in individualistic terms as opposed to community. We must remember that to follow Jesus Christ is a call to be a part of the Body of Christ.

Peter challenged us in his letter saying, "Once you were no people but now you are God's people." We have the image at Pentecost of the disciples standing with Peter as he preached. And today's Gospel brings us a powerful image of the vine and the branches. The branches can only exist or bear fruit if they are connected through the vine. G.K. Chesterton wrote, "A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun or moon."

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