Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sent to Save

Now 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

I am just arriving at the House of Bishops after two amazing days in Washington DC. Thursday night a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral was held for those who were marching in Washington in solidarity with the Water Protectors from Standing Rock. The Cathedral was full of folks who know that we are called, as First Nations, to care for the world we have been given. We are responsible for the coming generations. We are at this task, not as a political agenda, but as holy work. For our Creator has loved this world, the whole world, and in so doing, calls us to love " this fragile earth our island home", as well. One precious Savior came for the whole world, all of it, not  just our small part and following that Jesus calls us to love all of this world like precious family.

I am still integrating all that I saw, felt and heard. I was touched to be with family, old friends and new, and relations from across this land. In the capital of our country, in these troubled times, love was making a real, living presence, as people from all directions came together. The night before, in the solemn beauty of the Cathedral, we prayed for each other and our world with hushed voices, songs and drums. Flute and trumpet called us together to love beyond measure and protect the most vulnerable. And as the crowd was smudged, blessed and prepared, we knew to a one of us that God was calling us to be renewed and strengthened for the days ahead. Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota, called us to pray and then act. We did both, with love and respect for all who gathered around.

I ask God to help us know how to live these coming days. May we love so much and so well, that greed and comfort, which seem to be swallowing our land whole, will be subdued by love, overwhelming, protecting and renewing today.

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