Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trinity Sunday - God So Loved the World

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

In the midst of seep pain and heartache it is hard to imagine, to draw into ourselves, a God who loves us so much. We feel more condemned and punished than loved. When we hurt and are feeling overwhelmed, we cannot even take in the beauty and blessings that surround us. We can be consumed by guilt and anguish that we cannot even accept the love that surrounds us. Yet, God is ever present, with us in the depths of our pain and loss, standing along side of us in our darkest hours. 

Jesus is questioned by Nicodemus. This man has had his assumptions and the rules that he lived by challenged by the loving presence of Jesus. He wanted to understand what Jesus was saying but feared losing the solid ground under him, his power, and his independence. Nicodemus, like us is broken open when the world around us suddenly changes, when we can no longer rely on our strength and intellect alone. Today we are reminded that God is present in flesh, in spirit and in creation. There is no dark place where God will not go with us. There is nothing that can change the way the Creator loves us all - completely.

Today, I ask God to help me seek the love of God in the darkest moments and places. May we all stop trying to put the Creator in a comfortable, known box, and instead let love shower down on every hidden place and every broken moment.

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