Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The harvester is near. His blade is on your skin.

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—’Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

- John 12:20-36

For several years now, I have been especially struck by this metaphor: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Here is a real-life example of death and resurrection. A seed planted must change into something completely different.

I think most of us are seeds that don’t want to be planted. We want to stay just as we are—safe and whole—without understanding that there’s a deeper safety and a larger wholeness on the other side of death. And I don’t just mean our physical death—I mean all the little deaths we don’t want to face. The end of a job or a relationship. A move to a new place. Real, permanent change. Anything that demands that we can no longer continue to be who we have been, or continue to do what we have been doing.

We don’t get to hold the new gift before we let the old one go. We have to let go first.

Our song today is “Love” by Sixpence None the Richer. The link is to a live performance on MTV, but the quality isn’t very good, so I’ve also included a link to the lyrics.

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