Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Raining all the Time
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 2:23-3:8
March is one minute spring, one minute winter and seems to be raining all the time. Rainy days can be dreary but they do remind me of other times, the several springs when I had a baby on the way and all the world was turning. Life was beginning again and anew and the dark, cold and dreary days seemed ominous and full of portent. Rapidly moving clouds giving way to extraordinary light and blue. In fact those days were the edge of new life and new light, the internal mending, building and healing that causes new life - water and spirit. Sadness can enfold us when it the day dawns so dark, and yet I am reminded of all the wonders hidden away just waiting to be born, just waiting to spring forth, just waiting until the time is right.
Jesus knows how fickle humans are and how easily our hearts are swayed by fashion, stardom and group think. We are all swayed by circumstances and weather no matter how many seasons we have lived through. And so Jesus reminds Nicodemus that true transformation in God is not fashionable or trendy, not seasonable or light but grueling and messy - being born again. As a mother of three, I know from experience that birth is not pretty, it is exhausting, life threatening and simply hard, messy work. And yet God invites us to enter the places of messy, hard work that we might be transformed and born again.
Today I ask God to give me the strength to enter the hard, messy places and to be renewed by water and the Spirit, made whole by God's activity and my vulnerability. May we all open our hearts this Lent to being remade, being born again by God's working in us and leading us through dark, rainy, messy times to clear vision and new horizons.