Tuesday April 20, 2011
‘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. – John 12: 27
When was the last time you experienced the “point of no return”? It could have been during a marathon, in a difficult class that you didn’t drop during the permissible drop/add period, in a conversation that had taken a bad turn. Regardless, you suddenly realized that you were in too deep to turn back. That realization often coincides with the moment you’re considering giving up. But you’ve gone so far that turning back is no longer an option.You must follow through to the finish.
This passage in the Fourth Evangelist’s Gospel focuses on a moment when Jesus acknowledges that he is passing through the point of no return and he is troubled by that. He knows what he must do – he has taken on the task of coming to earth to save it and us through his suffering, death and resurrection. It ain’t easy, but there’s no turning back.
So he stars to tell the disciples what it really means to be a servant. It’s more than just saying you’re a Christian. It’s more than putting a Jesus fish on you back bumper. It’s even more than showing up at church on Sundays – though that certainly helps if you do it with an open heart and mind, and not simply as a duty.
Being a Christian means you will follow where he goes – it means you’ll be willing to die to yourselves to that you can live for others. It means that you will become a new community, reliant, not on yourself, but on God and the spirit of Jesus as made manifest in that community. That may mean making sacrifices and changes in your life. It may mean pushing through the fear that erupts each time we consider major changes. Following Jesus into new life will often require us to persevere through desert times and difficult stretches. It ain’t easy.
During this Lenten season, take some time to let go and explore what it might mean to die to your old self so that you can give new life and meaning to whatever situation you find yourself in. Let go of your fears, insecurities, frustrations — whatever may hold you imprisoned. Take time to pray and allow the glory of God to suffuse your life in new ways.
It ain’t easy, but the choice is yours — no turning back. Amen.
Holy God, you draw all people to yourself. Give us the faith and the endurance to stay with you on the journey that we might no longer walk in darkness, but become children of light. Amen
Rev. Dr. Christine B. Vogel, M.Div. ’96, is Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs