Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Andrea Abbott, Mt. Vernon Lay Speaker and singer, puts new life in The Vine today
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"Abide In The Vine"
A Sermon on John 15:5
A sustained focus on the message of one of Jesus' best-known I AM statements, "I am the True Vine," coupled with studied emphasis on His Commandment to love each other "as I have loved you," combined to put Andrea Abbott's message in the memorable category today.
"These were His parting thoughts, His deathbed conversation," declared Abbott, a Lay Speaker from First UMC, Mt. Vernon. "Before, Israel had been pictured as the Vine of God, and now Jesus declares Himself the True Vine."
Abbott's powerful message made it clear that we are to do more than abide in the Vine. We are also to bring others to Jesus, thus becoming fruitful vines. Meanwhile, she emphasized that all the while we are subject to pruning by God the Father, our Master Gardener, whose pruning also conditions us to bear fruit.
A surprise ending proved to be the highlight of Abbott's pulpit performance today. Displaying a beautiful musical voice, she closed by singing "Down The Via Dolorosa," a song which commemorates the Stations of the Cross along the pathway that Jesus walked to His sacrificial act of singular Atonement at Calvary.
In her closing prayer, Lay Speaker Abbott called upon the Lord to equip and send us all to our joint calling in Christ as His ambassadors.