Blog & Pastor Letters

Christians and the Image of Jesus as the True Vine

05-02-2021Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is a must read for all Christians. Lewis was an Oxford University professor who became an atheist and later converted again to Christianity. After his reconversion he decided to write the little treatise on Christianity based on his radio interviews on the common beliefs that Christians share without going into the complications of theology, dogma, or doctrine. Lewis intended with his book, to present the Christian faith in simple forms without offending theologians and leaders of the Christian faith. He wanted those who professed atheism as a way of life, to reconsider conversion just as he did.

I have found the book by Lewis a very interesting read. Christianity is often perceived wrongly based on the divisions we have rather than based on the common grounds that we rightly share from the bible. The promoters of these divisions use traditional and social media preaching misconceived assumptions thereby increasing the gap caused by historical disagreements. But Lewis refused to tug that line. He argues that looking at the universe you imagine which power is behind it. Secondly, Lewis considered the dualisms of life where evil is opposing good and the reality of pain when life is supposed to be total happiness. Anyway, he concluded that God is creator of the Universe and He does not interfere with man's freewill and the ability to discern between multiples choices. I agree with this position.

Jesus is the binding force that keeps all Christians on their feet in praise of God the Father. The revelation of Jesus to the world is a reminder to every living being that the oneness of God is unique to all people no matter where they live. For this reason, Jesus himself said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." Every Christian who calls on the name of Jesus cannot wish for divisions in the body of Christ but unity that drives us to be God's children.

However, as history has shown the divisions created pain and suffering which makes Lewis' book neutral to historical facts. Christians should look at the common grounds that bind us together instead of living in the past. Christianity needs to overcome barriers of theology and dogma and rely on the bible as the binding force. I know that writing this as a Catholic and a priest can make others question my allegiance to the Magisterium of the Church. I do not oppose any authority but rather add my voice to Christian unity.

My point on Christian unity is based on Jesus as the true vine, who said, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want, and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." Divisions perpetuate our historical divisions and widen the gap between us. But Jesus sews those gaps and brings us closer to our common heritage: The Bible.

Saul after his conversion joined the disciples and was accepted wholeheartedly. He later became an instrument in the hands of God for the conversion of gentiles. He moved freely and became a great apostle of Christendom. For all denominations to work effectively, we must return to biblical teachings of love, forgiveness, tolerance, and unity. St. John, the beloved apostle said, "Children, let us love not in word or speech but indeed and truth. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us." Fortunately for the Christian spirit, nobody has a monopoly on it: it moves freely to wherever it wills. And since it is given to us freely by God, we ought to utilize it for the growth of our faith based on Jesus, the True Vine.

Lewis' book may not be the best book on the Christian faith, but he has assisted in covering our loopholes concerning unity and love. Whatever opinion you hold about C.S. Lewis' writing, consider the teaching of Jesus that He is the Vine, and we all are the Branches. We need the Vine to survive in this journey of faith with others like us. Keep praying!