Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:20-26
Yesterday we traveled from South Jersey to Denver. We then collected a rental car and madly drove down to Colorado Springs. Our friend Mick, who we have known for more than 30 years was playing with his band. Although we have many of their CDs, we have only seen them perform once live. I was exhausted and cranky by the time we arrived. But choosing to stay and listen, and see old friends was the best thing I ever did. The music and the laughter healed the weariness and the ache. Seeking out others and their gifts brought new, unexpected joy and renewal.
Jesus is challenging his followers to understand that if they prize their own comfort over relationship with God and others, they will always be lonely and isolated. Relationship with God and others costs us a giving of ourselves, a willingness to put others first, and a letting go of control that is so hard for us humans. And yet the reward is great. God promises to be with us and even more, honored by the Father. As we give ourselves away we find true joy and true music. We find God right with us as we go with God.
Today, I ask God to help me let go of my need for control and to set aside my expectations and comfort. May my life with God and others take precedence over all. May our walk with God this day be a gift to those around us. May our lives be filled with sacrifice and offering, so that we may truly know that we are not alone, but held, ever so tenderly, in the arms of God.