Saturday, February 26, 2005

God so loved the world

I have come to appreciate the "flow" in the stories in John we are reading for Lent.

The first Sunday, we read of a big celebration where Jesus does a 'sign.'

The next week, a seeker comes to Jesus saying, "We know that only someone who comes from God can do the signs you do, but what are they about?"

Well, says Jesus, they are demonstrations of God's love - for God so loved the world . . .

and then John shows us how that Love is revealed:

Jesus encounters a woman, an outsider, an enemy and offers her God's love through unconditional acceptance and an offer to drink from the living waters . . .
and if Lent is a time of discipleship, then we have
a chance to offer unconditional love to all the outsiders,
all the enemies, all the unloveable people around us,
and within us, by sharing our portion of the living water.

Jesus meets a man who has been blind since birth and doesn't care about the reasons, theological or medical, he just provides the healing the man needs . . .
and if Lent is a time of discipleship, then we have
a chance to set aside all our theological, political,
economic, whatever reasons for why a person
is sick, or in poverty, or addicted, or suffering
from whatever blings them, including our own
blindness, by sharing the healing power and gifts
God has given us.

Jesus goes to the home of dear friends, whose brother has died. He grieves with them, weeps with them, shares their pain. And then he offers them the gift of new life brought out of nothingness (as Paul reminded us recently) . . .
and if Lent is a time of discipleship, then we have
a chance to share in the loss, the grief, the pain
of those around us and of our world, and help them
to discover the new life God is creating in the midst
of their loss.

God so loved the world that God's only Son was sent . . .

. . . God continues to love the world by sending God's children to bear this good news.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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