The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:47-59
I arrived last night in Helena. My husband and I drove the car across the country from our home in Massachusetts. There is no way not to be struck by the beauty and magnificence of this land of ours. And there is also great waste, shock and horrors along the way. There are some folks who are delightful and kind. Others are spiteful, angry and unhelpful. Some are an obvious gift from God and others, well, it is hard to see the love of God in their eyes. Standing on the camp in Standing Rock, the people gathered to save their water, their children and their land, gathering peacefully, caring for one another and the place - in that place I knew God's presence. Some people might see a protest as a frightful thing. I saw only the love of God in their eyes, hearts and in their words. Of all the stops we had, this one touched me deeply and forever.
Jesus is being challenged by the religious leadership. He is different from them so they cannot see the signs of God in him. Their perception is bound by culture and rules. God's love is not. Their sight is influenced by very tight parameters, but God's love is never bound by our rules and our ways, whomever we are. God invites us today to see beyond our own limitations.
Today I ask God to give me a broader vision and a deeper sense of God love and presence in the world. May we all be drawn beyond our comfort zones to know God in new and different ways.