Thursday, March 26, 2009

seeds of call

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit... those who love their life lose it... now my soul is troubled." Jesus as described in John 12:24, 25, 27

It's heart-wrenching. It's true. Creation and even the One who according to John "was in the beginning with God" dies in order that new life/fruit might spring up.

But it's not suicidal, it's not a giving up on life or a turning inward so that he can't see anything but death. Jesus loves life. Jesus loves people and wants to be with them... so no wonder his soul is troubled as he looks to the cross. It's one thing to be compared to the healing serpent in the wilderness, it's another to face the "lifting up" that will mean death on a cross. God loves the whole creation so much that God gives us Jesus who walks with us even to death--and somehow, doesn't beg to get of out of it... doesn't run away... says to disciples who can't even bear to think about the cross "when I am lifted up from the earth [on which I love to walk], I will draw all people to myself."

And so we're drawn in... to the story, to Jesus' stretched out arms, to Jesus' loving embrace.
And the seeds of the Spirit's calling are planted... and wait to sprout and grow.

In this fertile season,
Pastor Joy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

what kind of greeting?

Today is the day of the Annunciation of Our Lord. I've read so many good nuggets about this day when an angel messenger, Gabriel, came to Mary with the words, "Greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you!"
And she pondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Smart girl. People of faith sometimes look at Mary as simply an obedient servant, acquiescing to God's will. However, I notice her questions. "What does this mean? How can this be?"

Before she says the courageous "let it be," she looks at Gabriel with the quizzical eyes of a teenager. But because she trusts God, she's game.

Right between Lenten Sundays four and five, where Jesus describes in more and more detail God's love for all people and his willingness to face even the cross for us, we look back to the story of Jesus' conception--when Mary heard how a call from God that would change her whole life, heard who she would bring to birth and somehow passed on these seeds of this "yes" to her son.

As we go through these days of life and death and messengers from God (however cleverly disguised), may we be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to say in response to God, "let it be with me according to your will"... even with our questions along the way.

Pastor Joy