Psalms 93:1, 1-2, 5
The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common. Acts 4
"I solemnly assure you, do not be surprised that I tell you you must all be begotten from above." John 3
It is wonderful to read John's gospel after celebrating Easter. In these great speeches that Jesus gives in the Fourth Gospel, he sounds like the Risen Lord, speaking so powerfully to the heart of that early community. And, he seems to be speaking to us.
After a long Lenten journey, and the celebration of Easter, we aren't surprised that Jesus tells us we need the gift of life, and that this life will come from him. It comes not from what is "earthly," but from what is "above." It is a gift and it is a real re-birth. And it comes to us because he was "lifted up" in his terrible death on the cross, and therefore "lifted up" in Glory - so that we might have a new life, an eternal life.
I find the real challenge is to live what we believe. The "earthly" stuff is so very real, and it fills my daily life. What upsets me, disturbs me, makes me tense and angry, keeps me awake? Isn't it always some conflict, some jealousy, some competition, some hurt, some slight, some anxious fear? No matter how rational about it we try to be, no matter how hard we work at trying to "put it in perspective," we always seems to be "uncentered" by what is pretty earthly.
When Jesus says that the source of our "new life" has to come from what is "above," it makes sense. It has a freshness to it. It seems re-freshing. I felt some real peace and consolation at Easter. I don't want to surrender so easily, and not every day. I don't want to give so much power to such little things. Sure, bad stuff happens. Sure, there's stuff around me that is really unsettling. Yes, I need to stay engaged in this world and work hard at making it a better place. Yes, I have to work at, work through, bring reconciliation into, tough relationships. And, of course, as long as I have a beating heart, some stuff will always be anxiety producing. But, I have been lifted up with Jesus to a new life, that begins now, on this messy earth. I can face and thrive in my everyday life, if I do it with renewed faith and with a gifted freedom.
It is wonderful to hear our Risen Lord invite us to trust and to live the freedom that has been given us. It is really liberating to imagine this day being different, because I am asking for the grace not to give my peace away, every time it is threatened. There is an Easter joy in imagining not giving so much power to stuff that seems to seems to threaten, hurt or diminish me. There is incredible strength in imagining that I could live this day with fewer negative feelings toward others about their stuff. I can feel the power that could come from my loving the way I've been loved - not because others have earned it or deserve it or are always good at responding with love.
We may not be like that early community that were so free that they
could live with "one mind and one heart," and share "everything in common."
But, we can live today with a little more freedom and love, which comes
from embracing and walking in the new life that has been given us "from
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