The True Vine

This Sunday we look at another of the “I am” sayings of Jesus – Jesus as the True Vine.

Many people imagine God as an old man with a flowing beard, far removed from the world, looking over things from a distant heavenly throne. In this painting of Michelangelo God makes a rare appearance in giving life to Adam with Eve and cherubs in tow.

In the days of Jesus, many Jews thought that there were seven heavens between God and humans. Paul reflects on this when he writes in 2 Corinthians (12:2) about a person who was caught up to the third heaven.

The radical message of Jesus, which he repeats over and over again, is that the kingdom of God has come near. The image of the True Vine underlines this. There is nothing nearer than a vine to the branches.

I have had quite a few experiences with vines and vineyards. My father had rental property in the Kansas City area, with old sturdy grape vines. The grapes were large purple grapes with seeds which grew in abundance. There seemed little else to do with them than to make wine. I will say it was a lot of work for some so-so bottles of wine. Two Buck Chuck works for me.

Years later, my sister Marlene worked for a winery in Herman, MO. The hillsides around the town reminded me of the vineyards in Germany. The Germans who settled there had the same impression and planted their vines. Prior to prohibition more wine was produced there than anywhere else in the U.S.

Connie and I enjoyed our visit there and even more so to vineyards in the Napa Valley and nearer to our home where I have done several weddings in the Temecula area vineyards.

One thing you notice immediately is the tight connection between the vines, branches, and harvest. Without the vines, the branches dry up and decay. Connected to the vine they flourish. In my father’s case bearing so much that he had to use his imagination.

Jesus as the True Vine wants to be close to our daily lives. The creator is intimately connected to his creation. Many of our founding fathers were deists who believed that god created the universe and then like a clockmaker let it run. Jesus puts forth a different image of God. A oneness between creator and creation. The more we learn about the universe the more we understand that there is a oneness underlying all things.

How do we stay connected to the creator?

First, appreciate creation. We have had some beautiful days lately, celebrate them.

Second, read and study scripture, which is a history of God’s intervention in the lives of people. On Sundays, we read and reflect on scripture together. During the week I reflect on texts with you. You are invited to meditate on them and other texts during the week. We also have devotionals available in the narthex.

Thirdly, there is prayer, a time to open your heart to the sound of sheer silence which Elijah experienced. (1 Kings 19:12) You are invited to the meditation group on Thursday, which opens a channel together to God.

Fourthly, there is our Faith community. Branches do not grow well on their own but through connection. The vines in my father’s rental were so intertwined, they were nearly indistinguishable from one another. In the fall the changing of the leaves in Kansas City were marvelous in their variety but also united in a wondrous canopy of color.

We at Faith are united by Grace and Purpose, linked to one another in mutual support and encouragement. How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! (Ps 133:1).

PRAYER  Jesus, True Vine may we as your branches stay close to you. Intertwined with one another may we bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Grace and Peace,                                                   Pastor John Bunge

Pacifica Synod Regional Gatherings

A Regional Gathering of our Synod will be held on May 11th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at First Lutheran, Redlands, and lunch will be provided. The cost per person will be $20.  This gathering is for all church members – All members of Faith are invited.

The Regional Gatherings will be an opportunity to worship together, as well as to engage in substantive conversation on the issues that matter most to us as a synod. Everyone is invited to the Regional Gathering. All voting members are expected to attend both the Regional Gathering in their area and the Azoombly (assembly online Zoom). Each person must be registered to attend so that they can plan meals and seating. Registration for the Regional Gatherings is currently open with the deadline of April 27.  Call the church office if you are interested.

Next Pantry – Every 2nd & 4th Saturday. Next up is April 27, May 11, and 25. We could especially use Peanut Butter, Cereal, and Canned Soup.

Support – Bless you for all the ways you support Faith Lutheran. Your financial support has been amazing. We do need continued support as the second story is no longer rented by Zion Reformed.

Time of Meditation –Nelson will be in rehab for some time, but the group will still be meeting this week and Thursdays @ 1 pm. Thanks to Bonnie and others for this spiritual support of our church.

LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours are: 12:30-3:00 M – Th.                   The Pastor is in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Confirmation Classes We are back in action through April and May at 11:15 am. Until Memorial Day, May 26.

CHOIR – We practice at 9:00 am before services.

BELLS – are coming back this summer.  Let Irm know about your interest.

WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study will be postponed to June 1; they will be assisting with the funeral for Lynda Buschauer on May 4 at 10:30 a.m.

QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed 16 for Central City Lutheran Mission and 6 for Lutheran World Relief. They also gave 23 lap quilts to Smiles Seniors of Yucaipa, who sent a nice Thank you note.

PRAY for:

  • Nelson as he recovers from hip surgery.
  • Nancy’s son, Gabe, is recovering from on attack in the Riverside area.
  • erwin as he mourns the death of Lynda who passed away March 19. Great to see him in church. Her memorial service will be on May 4 at 10:30 am. Irm and a string quartet will play prior to the service. Erwin’s email:
  • Eloise appreciates your prayers.
  • Kyle and Dana’s son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa, cancer was found even after surgery.
  • Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle. Her brother Jim is in a critical state.
  • The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of housing for themselves and the twins.
  • Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.



21       We Had a HAPPY DAY! – with sloppy joes, Michelle’s wonderful salad, and Jerry Mills fantastic apple sauce dessert.  Always thanks to Nancy and Bonnie S. for helping to set up and clean up. 

28       BINGO! – Kim’s Famous Taco Soup, salad, and thanks much to Paula for the dessert; and Michelle a Pasta Salad

                                    11:00-11:20 Eat.                       11:20-12:10 Bingo!

Thanks again to Pat Teeters for the Bingo prize donations! We are always collecting bingo prizes. Please leave them in the office, and mark Bingo Prizes.

You are appreciated!


5          WELCA


We will have gourmet appetizers, petite desserts (and food for young people, too) Thank you to Kim, Dona, and Jennifer!


Thank you to the Preschool Committee, Robyn Blue, Pat Motschall, Sharon, and Steve Cady for planning the event.


People have asked for clarification about the Fellowship Time.  If you were wondering….


No.  So, thank you to the people who say yes to donating or preparing food; Many, many thanks to our chefs:  Jerry, Richard, Dona, Jennifer, John, Karen, Michelle, Paula, Kim, Sharon & Steve, Robyn, Pat M, WELCA (1st Sundays). And thanks to people who help set up or clean up: Nancy, Bonnie S., Bonnie M.

Each Sunday, we plan for 25-50 servings, as seconds and even thirds are always welcome and taken. During April – Palm Sunday and Easter we had to plan for up to 60+ servings.

Also, thanks to people for donating their Action Teams as well., we have used teams from Diane, Pastor John, their daughter Brie, and Lynda. Steve & Sharon and Robyn are working on preschool recognitions.

We invite you all to participate.  You might be presently surprised.

For the last year — we always strive for a “healthy option” — we have a “main course”, salad, fruit or veggies, and some type of dessert. And compliment themed décor.   Just last Sunday, a member told me, they didn’t come over because they don’t eat sweets.  She was surprised.

All Bingo prizes are also donated.  Thanks!  We have a place to store them, so think of us before donating to a thrift store.  Pat T, Karen, and “anonymous”—THANKS!


The Planning Committee meets and decides on the themes for 3 months.

We treat our planning as a Fellowship Event.

Our goal is fun, creativity, variety, and festivity.

It consists of Karen, Jennifer, and Connie; And we are delighted to have Nancy join us! Thanks much to Kim who is helping plan for Mother’s Day and bring food for various Sundays!  If you wish to join us, our next meeting will be May 16, 11:45.


No, we find it more helpful to just ask people to assist or have people volunteer.

It’s been very rewarding to simply ask and receive “Sure I’ll bring potato salad, dessert, etc”.

If you are interested in assisting, please contact Connie, at 951.514.1214.