The Queensland government has named the Lantana vine "the worst invasive environmental weed in bushland", and scientists have been plotting the downfall of this rapacious weed using biological warfare for over 80 years. They have introduced over 30 organisms to attack the plant, like a small Mexican grub which eats the Lantana from the vine, and a Brazilian beetle which absolutely loves Lantana leaves. Although many of these bugs are still happily doing their thing, living large on the fruit of the pestilent plant, the Lantana continues to thrive. Having arrived in Australia in the 1840s as an ornamental plant, it now infests more than 4 million hectares of land.
All those involved in the battle against the Lantana vine are impressed by its extraordinary perseverance.
Around 200 years ago, Jesus called himself the True Vine, his father the vinedresser and all who followed him, branches. He said those branches which remained in him would bear much fruit despite being hated and persecuted by the world. In speaking of the close relationship between the triune God and his followers, Jesus thus revealed the source of the church's strength.
Like the Lantana, the Christian church has overcome all attempts to destroy it, both from within and without. Unlike the Lantana, the church continues to prosper as a force for good in the world as Christians continue to abide in the true vine, loving and forgiving all by the divine power which lives within us.