Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We would see Jesus

Readings for Lent 5: Jer 31:31-34, Psalm 119:9-16; Heb 5:5-14 ; John 12:20-33 Sunday April 2nd 2006

A good question for us to reflect on is:
What would we tell the person who knows nothing about Christianity if they said to us:
Tell us about this Jesus.
This is rather what happens to some disciples when, we are told,
"some Greeks come to Phillip and say "Sir we would see Jesus!""

For some reason this doesn't seem to be straight forward for them, we read,
"Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus"
there is a bit iof buck passing going on
which is all too rerminiscent of what happens in churches!

It is often not starightforward for us either.
we often have ways and means for passing the buck on to someone else.
Why is this so?
Why do we imagine that we have nothing to say?

We would see Jesus
It is Teresa of Avila who is credited with reminding us
that because we now live in the era of the Risen and the Ascended Christ that
Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours
This is the way our God has chosen to be

Our lives are the vehicle Christ uses to make himself known
We should not delude ourselves into thinking
that some how Christ is only made known
by miraculous appearances or the like
It will be the acts of ministry that we do
the way we conduct ourselves
that shows people what Jesus is like.
This is pretty scary stuff for us
because we are only too well aware of how we let Christ down in this regard.

We do not have to model or provide a perfect enactment of Christ
we have to be able to live our life
in accord with the Spirit of Christ
allowing Christ to be in us and work through us.
We can trust Christ to make himself known
as he will
we need to not be a barrier or a wall
through which expereience of Christ is blocked or obscured

Our words
We are rather fixated on words
and it is important that what we say is Christian.
Can we show people Jesus by what we say?
When asked simple (yet deep) questions
such as .....what happens to us when we die?
or Why does God allow one person to suffer and not another?
Does what we say point to Jesus, and make sense?
So often we drop the ball here
when the challenge is to help people take the next step.
I rather wonder if this is what Phillip was doing in this little encounter:
"Sir we would see Jesus"
(AAgh this is too hard for me...what should I do...I know, I'll pass the buck)
Do you take steps to deepen your own faith? To reflect on perplexing questions?
To educate yourself?

Our relationships
When we look at the language about Jesus
about why people come to him
about the needs that Jesus
is asked to address.
We note that this is the language of relationship and reconciliation
it is about love and forgiveness,
it is about acceptance and sharing the burdens of others.
This is the stuff that happens when we engage in relationship
with other people.
When people would see Jesus, they would look at how we conduct ourselves.
So often we talk about Jesus
but it doesn't seem to penetrate the reality of our lives.
Jesus will be most evident close-up in our lives
so often we want to distance ourselves from this reality.
Our experience of Jesus
is cool and rational
rather than alive and passionate.

Ahh! there is that word which characterises this season.
We use it to refer to the suffering of Jesus.
We would see Jesus.
And we see him in the midst of suffering
That is what the Latin word means.
But popular usage links "passion" to the heights and depths of love.
This reminds us that what we see when we see Jesus
is a love that suffers
a love that is so identified with the object of love
that it will suffer.

Pray in this holy passion time
that we all may be the ears, hands and hearts of Jesus.
That our lives may show Jesus in the living
that our words may declare him in our speaking
and that with passion we may declare his love
as we embrace the suffering others who God has given us to love and care for

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