Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas—March 9, 2017
Nicodemis, a Pharisee, came to Jesus at night. He came, not looking to trip Jesus up, but because he was seeking understanding. He came by night in order to protect himself and his reputation as a Pharisee. The gospel writer also uses the cover of darkness as way of suggesting questioning and disease in the mind, soul and heart of the seeker. So Nicodemis came in the night, and in his own sense of darkness. Jesus welcomed him. He did not judge him, but challenged him to go beyond what he had been taught and the surety to open his understanding – and his heart – to receive and understand more. The passage ends with two verses that, next to the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer, may be the most recognized and memorized passages in scripture:
“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. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16, 17
The Son came to save – to redeem -- not to condemn. And the Son came not just to individual sinners, or even just to humankind, but to the WORLD. So perhaps we are being invited and challenged to expand our thinking for this Lent. How can we turn our hearts and minds more toward this “fragile earth, our island home,” and be part of the redeeming of the land, the water and the air? What changes can we make in our own lives that will help to make life better for others and for the creatures with whom we share this planet? What changes can we make, or help to make, that will ensure life for future generations?
God so loved the world... I memorized these words in Sunday School, but they came into my heart through the musical setting of John Stainer, an English composer and organist of the late 19th century. I can still sing it all the way through by heart. Youtube.com has several videos of this anthem, performed by various choirs; this one is of the men and boys of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. You can enjoy it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Akz6J8Rw0&index=1&list=RDX5Akz6J8Rw0
Let us pray: O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Peace and blessing, Carol