Branches of the Vine3 min read

These last few weeks before our annual remembrance of The Passion of our Lord Jesus have been a blur. The clock and the calendar have reached up and exercised a stranglehold on my life that is has been disturbing, yet not unexpected. You see, I managed to say yes to far too many engagements and projects. I’m entangled in demands and requests that at the time they were made didn’t seem too bad, but now the reality has been shockingly painful. And I blame no one except myself. At times we feel embraced by our life, totally surrounded and secure in the arms of our Savior and our Christian community. And then there are the other times when we feel ensnared by “the sin that so easily entangles.” We are the branches of the Vine. Yet, at the same time, we are tangled in this fallen world through both good and bad.

This year at The Katie, a conference for pastors’ wives and widows, we will explore both sides of this reality through the study of God’s Word together. The stories on deck for our consideration are of the leprous Naaman, the Prodigal Son, and the Man on the Mat. While the stories may seem to be missing a common thread, they all pour back into the theme for this conference: Tangled Branches. There’s the goodness of being tangled up with the Lord Jesus but there is also the sense of being ensnared by sin. These three stories contain those ideas and expand on that common experience we all share.

Of particular interest this year will be the Prodigal Son. Here is a parable that is filled with pathos and reality. And who among us cannot relate to the impulse to wander off and do something that is totally stupid, thus disentangling ourselves from those who love us the most—including the Savior? This story has depth and power that will grab your heart and expand your understanding of God’s amazing grace and mercy for all of us while sounding the warning bells when we go our own way, thus distancing ourselves from the embrace of God and His people.

While Naaman may seem like an odd choice for this theme, one has to be enamored by the dichotomy that is this man’s life. He is completely un-entangled by community because his leprosy keeps him apart from people. But when offered the opportunity for restoration, his leprosy is the least of his worries because his pride takes over to also keep him separated. He is such an interesting character and we can learn much from his journey. Finally, the crippled man who is lowered before Jesus on his mat brings a reminder that we are all in this together. God has given us community for specific reasons and we do well to heed those reasons.

The Katie this year will bring challenge and growth into the lives of everyone who attends, and that doesn’t happen only through the Bible study. It also comes through conversations and activities that are designed to bring you closer to one another and, most importantly, to the Savior. We will have a very special presentation by Pat Maier on the devotional practice of Praying in Color, worship times, great food, and a relaxing atmosphere surrounded by amazing women of God. This is an event that is not to be missed and, if you are even slightly interested, please plan to attend. If you are a congregational chairman or in the church’s leadership, make it your business to highly encourage your pastor’s wife to attend and help make that possible for her with financial help or childcare support. The Katie is an extraordinary event for some extraordinary women! Take advantage of the opportunity to get tangled up with God’s people!

Registration closes April 7. Register now!

Subscribe to Blog Button

About the Author

Carolyn Bira is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Director of Christian Education. She and her husband, Cliff, served Holy Cross, Flushing for 36 years and both retired in May. They have two accomplished daughters, two remarkable sons-in-law, and five beautiful grandchildren. Bira spends her time writing Bible study material (primarily for Visual Faith Ministry), and leading Bible studies. She has been a speaker for numerous events, conferences, and seminars, and enjoys sharing the depths of the Scriptures the most.

More by This Author