Corrie Berg tells the parable of the vine and the branches as told by Jesus to his disciples. The Time with Children in the worship service at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton, NJ, focuses on telling Bible stories to the congregation. Storytellers from the church bring these stories to life with dramatic flair.
I’m going to start out today with a question. And it’s actually kind of a hard question. I’m going to ask you if you can tell me what the story from last week was. Oh, I know, you all put your thinking caps on. It was told by Mrs. Wehrheim, and I’ll give you some hints.
Jesus was trying to explain to his disciples about who he was and he said, “I am like a shepherd and you are my sheep.” Thank you. A good shepherd watches over the sheep and cares for the sheep and makes sure that the sheep come to no harm. I think that’s a really good example, and I think that helped the disciples understand more about how Jesus cared for them. The disciples knew sheep, the disciples knew shepherds, this made sense.
But as Jesus and the disciples are traveling along together, the disciples still have questions, and Jesus, he realizes that more explaining is needed.
So, imagine that they are walking down a road, there’s farms in the distance and vineyards over here, and Jesus looks out and he says to his disciples, “I am the vine, and God is the owner of the vineyard. The owner makes sure that the vineyard produces good fruit, and that the vineyard is healthy.” The disciples are listening, nodding trying to understand. Jesus goes on, “I am the vine, but you are the branches. But the branches can’t produce fruit unless they are attached to the vine. So, stay with me, and I will stay with you and you will bear much fruit, many good things.”
The disciples understood that. They knew about vineyards. They knew about vines. They knew that one vine could send out branches a long way and produce great, big clumps of grapes. But what happens if that branch gets cut off, or breaks away? What happens? It doesn’t do very well, does it? [God will help it!]
In last week’s story of the good shepherd, Jesus teaches the disciples and us that he is always with us. But in this week’s story, he teaches the disciples and teaches us that we need to stay with God and stay close to Jesus.
And Jesus ends his story with these words. “Stay with me and keep your words in me. Grow good fruit, and God will be pleased and know that you are my followers.”
Let’s take our hands and fold them together in prayer. Dear Lord, we thank you that you are always with us, and help us to stick close to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Storyteller: Corrie Berg
Text: John 15:1-11
Corrie Berg is the Director of Children’s and Family Ministries at Nassau Presbyterian Church. She attended Jamestown University, a Presbyterian liberal arts college, majoring in Religion and English Literature. A highlight of her work is telling Bible stories to attentive children (and adults). It brings together her love of good literature, and her commitment to passing on the stories of our faith to the next generation.