You can say you are a branch on the vine or a child of the Father, it makes no difference. Both are marked by the act of clinging. Vines cling to walls or trees or whatever surface they can find—and branches cling to vines. Little children cling to their Father’s legs or hands or arms. They love to climb on their Father’s back and never let go, to have their Father take them surprising places.
The branch does not fear the vine nor do children fear their loving Father; he is approachable—so it is only natural to cling.
The branch does not say, “I must cling to the vine or I will die!” It just clings naturally—and bears fruit naturally.
Children of loving parents do not wake up in the morning, thinking: “Hm. Shall I trust my Father and Mother today?” Their spirit just knows that trust is the best course of action, so they just trust.
Perhaps this is why it is hard for adults to trust and cling: we second-guess and begin to doubt and sometimes think a little too much—or a lot too much, take your pick. The Father is there to cling to. If it seems like Jesus’ use of the imagery of vines and branches is less strong than the image of Father-Child it is not: perhaps Jesus uses this imagery to help us imagine what it would be like for a child to cling to his or her Father and never stop clinging. Because we cannot imagine such a scenario, Jesus needs to let us know that it is God’s will we should come to him as little children and never, ever leave his side. Like Moses, we can say to him: “Do not send me anywhere unless you go with me!”
And, he does: “For lo, I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
Amen. Cling, child. Cling to the clinging vine, branch. It is what you were meant to do.