The Real Network

sphere of lights
Image credit: <a href="">Kevin Dooley</a>

John 15:1-8

I’m the real network, and my creator is the network administrator. Wherever there is a dead node in the network, she disconnects it. She tunes the nodes that are useful, to make them even more powerful. What I’ve told you has already made you good conductors. Just remain a part of me, as I’m a part of you. A node on its own is just a wire, unless it’s part of a network. By yourself, without me, you won’t get very far. I’m the network. You’re the nodes. Those who remain in the network can accomplish anything, but outside the network, you can’t do anything. Outside of me, you’re just so much scrap wire off to the trash heap, gathered up and sent to the smelter to be recycled. If you stay with me, and hang onto my words, whatever you wish for will be possible for you. My creator is proven right when you accomplish great things by really following me.

In Jesus’ original agrarian setting, a vine was a tangled mess of stuff that only grew and thrived when it stayed connected. There was no sense in pulling the vine apart to try to make it more orderly, or to understand exactly how it worked. It just “all hangs together.”

In our world, we love to talk about networks. We gather for “networking” sessions. We are wired together through tangles of communication lines we can’t make heads or tails of. But it works. It works because in some way larger than we can understand or keep track of, it “all hangs together.”

In the 4th gospel, Jesus claims to be that real network that connects us with the resources we need to accomplish anything. If the idea of a single person being an entire network seems strange, it is no less strange to us than it was to those who first heard the concept. How can one person be going in so many incomprehensible directions at once?

But, in the theological understanding of this gospel, Jesus the person is always the incarnate logic of the Universe. If you understand and take part in what Jesus the person is about, you are part of that universal logic. You can move with it, or you can get swept into the recycle bin of history by it. Your choice.

Powerful? You bet.