I’m at the RevGals Big Event Continuing Ed Event this week in Dallas. Grateful for this time to be with my clergy friends and learn Enneagram wisdom. (Be sure to sign up for next year’s Big Event, which will be online before too long).
This week’s Narrative Lectionary passage is John 3:1-21.
I’m partial to Nicodemus, maybe because Nicodemus might be the first Presbyterian (fill in your own denomination here).
He’s a good guy. He loves Jesus, he just doesn’t want to be too public about his faith, in case he might offend someone. He wants to be a good person and serve his church, but he is busy. Between soccer carpools for his kids and caring for his elderly parents, when is he supposed to have time to live out his faith? Can’t he follow Jesus without any of the inconveniences of radical discipleship?
He comes to Jesus with a claim about who he thinks Jesus is.
“Rabbi, we know 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.”
It is not a bold claim. It is measured. He sees Jesus as a good guy, a teacher sent from God. He recognizes the signs Jesus does could not be done if God was not with him.
Like most presbyterians (fill in the blank), he’s also educated. And sometimes, we can let what we know get in the way of what we need to learn. When we think we have the experience, the answers, the wisdom we need to solve whatever situation we’re in, I wonder if we forget Jesus might have more to teach us.
Nicodemus sure seemed to think he had all the answers he needed when he started up the conversation in the dark with Jesus.
And then when Jesus starts talking to him about being born anew, born again, Nicodemus just can’t compute.
“What are you talking about Jesus? We know how babies are born. What does that have to do with what I’m talking about?”
Nicodemus has a point.
What are we going to say about this conversation between Nic and Jesus?
Or are you going to focus on verse 16 with the famous verse (held up on signs at American football games, at least) about God so loving the world? I’m partial to the next verse, with “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”. The verses after that are less clear, and frankly fraught with peril. (We can’t equate “light” and “dark” with “good” and “evil” without awareness of how there are racial undertones to the way those words are used in some contexts.)
Please share the direction your sermon muse is guiding you, or ideas you’ve got about Time with the Children, or other thoughts and resources here.
Blessings on your sermon work this week!
Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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