Pondering for Sunday, March 8, 2020

Eucharistic Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent: Year A

Genesis 12:1-4a  Psalm 121  Romans 4:1-5, 13-17  John 3:1-17

“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)

Why then do we need to go any further?  If we can see clearly that someone is doing things that only a person whom God is working through can do, why ask any further questions regarding proofs?  And if God is the source of the “what” that is being done, we already know the answer to why.  It is because God loves us.

Nicodemus comes to our Lord Jesus “by night.”  This darkness of night may also allude to his ignorance. He comes to Jesus in his not-knowing and his not believing even though, self-admittedly he says “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.”  Nicodemus and his cohorts do regard Jesus, knowing, as he says, “for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”  Some theologians will say it is not about doing.  But even Nicodemus recognizes the signs that Jesus is “doing.”  But the doing is from God. Yes, God made us human being not human doing. I have said that many times.  Our doing however must come from God acting through us, using our hands and feet and mind and words to the glory of God.

God is God of heaven and earth. Nicodemus (and we today) ought to know this.  Jesus tells of things earthly and heavenly.  And he says, “If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

Our Lord Jesus’ mission is to save the world.  Perhaps the most famous statement in the New Testament is  John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Our Lord Jesus makes us aware of an invitation from God to live joyfully in eternity, to have life and have it abundantly.   We do this by believing.  But believing in this sense means living out our lives in truth and love. 

I really liked the words of the Reverend Helen Van Koevering, rector of Saint Raphael the Archangel Episcopal church in Lexington, Kentucky as she writes in Forward Day by Day for today, “When we follow Jesus we learn to respond to life with generosity, reconciliation, acceptance, compassion, and encouragement.  GRACE.”  Thank you Helen.

Being our Lord Jesus’ hands and feet and mouth and mind is more than just saying what we believe; we must demonstrate what we believe through acts of caring, hospitality, and doing for others, putting others before ourselves.  In living this way we accept the invitation from God to join the company of heaven in eternal life as promised by God.  For those who believe and live it out in godly ways may not perish but have eternal life.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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