April 10, 2018
by Ann Mausbach
Creighton University's Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 268

Acts 4:32-37
Psalms 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5
John 3:7b-15


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

There is a story that I am not very proud of but feel I need to share in light of today’s gospel. When one of my sons was in the sixth or seventh grade he was on a really good basketball team. My son was the fifth man until the coach decided to let another boy on the team. This boy, who in reality was better than my son, got more playing time each game. After one game, where we lost, (a rarity for this team), I was really beside myself. Mark didn’t get enough playing time and I was sure if he had played more the outcome of the game would have been different. I was indignant, even more so when I saw how upset Mark was after the game. I took him to lunch so we could talk things over. I asked him directly if he felt he got enough playing time. I was convinced that he had been wronged, that he was the better player, and that he would feel the same way. I just needed him to confirm this so I could go battle with the coach. Much to my chagrin, Mark said, “Mom, I would have rather we won and I never played a single second. I am not upset about playing time, I am upset that we lost.”  Boy did I have things wrong, I had to totally rethink this one. So much for my strong convictions.

In today’s gospel, Nicodemus might have felt as I did in my conversation with my son. He was a very learned man, strong in his beliefs and convictions.  Then along comes Jesus who is asking him to think differently. Nicodemus struggles to understand because what Jesus is saying doesn’t align with what he has come to believe. He is having a hard time embracing these new ideas, which is why Jesus is asking him to let the Spirit in, be born anew.

Many times, when we think about letting Spirit in our lives, the word surrender surfaces, but I think what Jesus is trying to tell us today is that it isn’t so much about letting go as it is in opening up. Surrender means to give up and this is the opposite of what God wants for our relationship. God wants us to lean in. Being open requires us to work with the tension that is inherent in all relationships. It is in the tension that we form understanding and meaning.  

Today, let us pray for the openness and willingness to let the Spirit in our lives. Let us keep working on getting to know God through opening our hearts and our minds to his love.

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