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.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:1-15
We are just returning from Wintertalk, three days with Native leaders from across the church. Old friends and new friends, relatives all gathered together to share ministry and support one another. Somehow we found common ground in such diversity and complexity. Although we all have challenges that are big, we found ways to share and the load seemed lighter. By the time we were done, many felt renewed, reborn in a way by God's spirit. Gathered together in love and respect, God made us all new so that we could return home and serve. God made room in our hearts again for love.
Nicodemus wants desperately to understand how to be a follower of Jesus. He wants to get it right. Jesus tells him it is only by God's spirit changing him, remaking and renewing him that he can be saved. Nicodemus and all of us have to let go of control so that God can remake us and renew us. We often wait so long and struggle until we feel defeated. And in our defeat we let go and give it up to God, who can and will do something with us - bring us new life. God is more ready to heal and restore us than we are to let go.
Today, I ask God to help me let go to the worries and challenges of the day. May we be ever ready to give over all our troubles to God, who needs room within us to remake us. May we be pliable clay, flexible learners, and willing vessels. My we open the dark closed places to God so that God might heal and restore it all. And in so doing, we will be reborn the living children of a loving God.