I am the vine you are the branches

My wife preached on mothers day this year and she was given the text in John where Jesus says "I am the vine and you are the branches".

She found something I wanted to note here for discussion.

Jesus uses a lot of imagery relating to agriculture: seeds, farmers, soil, vines, etc. While Paul uses a lot of imagery related to "body": Christ is the head of the church, we are the body of Christ, one body many members, etc. There is a very interesting difference between these two images of Jesus and Paul and American Christianity seems to favor Paul.

I am not sure what sort of vine/branch Jesus is talking about, and I am not a vine/branch expert but I have seen a few vines in my day. And in seeing these vines it was brought to my attention by Estee's research that it is very difficult to differentiate vines from branches. They are entangled and interwoven with each other to create a 'oneness'. So what is the difference between the vine and branches, that is to say, how can you tell the two apart? According to Jesus, you should not be able to see a difference at all.

Paul uses this idea of different parts of the same body. There are hands, and feet and eyes, and mouths which are all on the body but all are different and separated by space and function/purpose and physical make up. Paul uses this image which in some ways argues that we are not keep our individuality and use it for the body. But the image of Jesus is that we are to "die to oneself" we are to "abide" we are to become entangled with one another that we no longer are 'individuals' but we are all ONE.

A slight difference but an interesting one.

It is part of the American psyche of this rugged individualism and self reliance. It is an idea that is very Pauline, but I am not sure it is very Jesus-ish (Jesusian? Jesusine? What is the right word there?).

I am not sure what I am getting at other than I think it is interesting to consider the differences there and meditate on them.

Am I willing to give up my individualism for the sake of the whole? Or am I more libertarian and feel the individual is more important than the whole? What does Jesus say to all that?