Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 2nd Week of Epiphany: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 25; Evening, Psalms 9 and 15;
Genesis 8:6 to 22; Hebrews 4:14 to 5:6; John 2:23 to 3:15:
“He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” (John 3:2)
This is the way we all approach our Lord Jesus, in the darkness of ignorance. Nicodemus was somewhat condescending in his talk with Jesus knowing that a person cannot re-enter the womb to be born again. Jesus was explaining a rebirth using metaphor. This only further explains the dark cloud of ignorance in which Nicodemus found himself.
One does not know how much they don’t know. I am thankful for a seminary education. It is not that this religious education made me smart. Rather, it informed me of just how much I had no clue about. I think knowing how much you don’t know is the beginning of being smart. This is a good time to recall a quote from Kallistos Ware: “It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.” (Kallistos Ware)
If Nicodemus believed that our Lord Jesus was a teacher who has come from God because no one can do what our Lord Jesus does apart from the presence of God, then, I say, behave that way Nicodemus! Instead of challenging Jesus, follow him. And that goes for us too.
Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocate for civil rights for all people.
Dr King was passionate about his call for justice for all people. It is reported that he once said that “If a man can’t find something he is willing to die for, he is not fit to live.” Indeed he did die while raising the awareness of underpaid sanitation workers in Memphis, This fairness was something he believed in and was willing to die for, and indeed he did die for.
How about us? What are we willing to die for? So often the “what” is changed to “who.” Many of us will proclaim who we are willing to die for, a spouse, a child, a parent or a friend. But what about an idea; – a concept of freedom, equality and justice for all people? As Episcopalians we proclaim in our Baptismal Covenant that we “Will strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being;” (BCP 305). I think Dr King (not an Episcopalian), lived into what we profess. He did more than just lip service to an old, regularly recited covenant. He was fit to live because of his determination for freedom, liberty and justice for all people as valid reasons to die for. And that should go for us as well.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John