Thursday, March 19, 2009
"Whoever is born of God, listens to God's word." John 8:47
I just landed in Hawaii after a long flight. It is the middle of the night at home but it is evening here. I am trying to stay awake so that I can get my body acclimated to the time difference - six hours. Easier said than done for this aging body. All of my systems seem in rebellion and I have to accept that I am hardwired on east coast time. Although I was born on the west coast, my clock is definitely wired to an eastern clock. We all respond to light and sound in the ways in which we were fashioned. This beautiful place, so full of warmth and hospitality, makes it easier for me to work hard at getting used to a different time. I want to be present and intelligent in this place, but I have to fight my natural tendencies to sleep and eat on a very different schedule. This arrival reminds me just how challenging it is for all of us to be in a new place, on a different time. It doesn't shatter us to the core, but instead, makes us very unbalanced for a time.
The religious leaders who encounter Jesus were feeling unbalanced and challenged beyond the capacities. The words he said rang true, but they were frightened by his authority and humanity. Jesus was not impressed with human hierarchy and control but rather with a heart that is open to God. Too many years of rigid control and privilege had soured these leaders on honesty and love - they just didn't recognize it anymore. Like people adjusting to different places and times, they did not want to open themselves up, but fall back on the comforting and the familiar. We humans fall back when our lives and senses are challenged and we forget who "borned us" and gave us life. Jesus invites us all to listen again to the words of the one who created us in love.
When I arise I want to do so with ah heart and mind open to God's word - God's word that will not let me fall back on the comfortable but rather urges me on to share Christ's love in many places. I want to listen for God's word on the lips of strangers and to find home, even far away from where home normally is. I want to live into what it means to be born of God, born in love and forgiveness. May we all rise us, knowing that we were born of sacrificial, forgiving love, the love of Christ. May we share that love as we stretch beyond familiar to hearing God's word in new tongues.