The problem with dead things is that it's hard to tell if they're dead.
There are many who are very skilled at this, of course. Doctors come to mind, though even they have been known to make mistakes from time to time.
Hence the reality of the "Wake" that precedes a funeral. It was called a "wake" because you would sit with the body all night (usually playing cards and drinking heavily, at least in my family's Celtic heritage) to make sure that the body didn't literally "wake." Join the party. Ask to be dealt back into life.
In the olden days the Wake was not a time for you to come and pay respects, quietly walking around some room at the funeral home browsing old photographs and signing a little book. It was the party where you loudly and proudly celebrated life, making sure that the person in question didn't want to join in!
And so when Jesus talks this week about abiding in him as the true vine, and that all dead vines will be thrown out into the fire, my first thought is, "how do you know if it's dead?"
Oh, the verse for this week is John 15:1-8. Go ahead and read it or else the rest might not make much sense.
Got it? Ok. Onward.
Literally, I want to know how you know. How do you know when something is dead?