Sunday, May 31, 2015

Born From Above

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, 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 a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just 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.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:1-17

The Trinity often seems like an un-graspable  mystery. Theologians and artists have tried to capture the nature of the triune God. And yet, the Trinity is as close as relationship and family. Whether born of the same blood or chosen as family, we all know what it means to be in an intimate relationship with another. We are uniquely ourselves and yet changed, interdependent with separate gifts and expressions. To be born from above means to see ourselves no longer as an individual, with a sole sense of exceptionalism, but rather we see ourselves made whole and fuller in relationship.

Jesus and Nicodemus have a profound conversation. This brilliant theologian comes to Jesus, confused and concerned about his lack of understanding. I am certain that because we know Nicodemus' name, we can also be certain that he was changed forever through his relationship with Jesus. The impact was profound and eternal, as it is for each of us.

Today I ask God to open my heart to the fullness of the Trinity, to the movement of the Holy Spirit and to God's divine working in every measure of this day. May we be born anew through the many gifts of God that are showered upon us this day. And may we share that bountiful love and compassion with the needy world around us.

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