On Thursday I was in the office studying the gospel “Truly I tell you no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” At that very moment I hear tromp tromp tromp above my head heavy footsteps. Yikes ! Was I about to be reborn from above? Well, Yes and No. It was the AC guys up in the ceiling changing the filters and making sure the system was blowing air efficiently. The next line of the gospel is “the wind blows where it chooses you hear the sound of it but you don’t know where it come from or where it goes.” Practically speaking the wind doesn’t really blow where it chooses if you never change the filters. And part of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus is related to changing the filter in order that the wind of the spirit can get through to him.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the dark of night He comes we think because he is afraid of the Jewish authorities. Now because I’ve spent a significant amount of time with Nicodemus this week I’m going to refer to him as Nic. Nic is a smart guy he has a significant body of knowledge. He has authority and status but Nic is a linear thinker which isn’t a bad thing if you are in business. That kind of thinking is clear and logical but Jesus is calling him to filter his knowledge in a new way from the inside out rather than the outside in. He has to clear out the dust and grime of worldly thinking and truly be born again to process his life as a child of God but Nic is a little resistant he wants a strategic business plan, a logical one. This is in contrast to Abram. Look at Abram the old guy. God tells him pick up things and “go where I tell you.” That’s not logical! It makes no sense but he goes He is born again and as a result of being born again he becomes a blessing to so many.
Each one of us here is born again We are born again not by raising our hands or speaking in tongues. After we were physically born we have been born by water and the spirit in Holy Baptism. At that time we were given the grace to live as God’s children. I have always loved the prayer we pray after that but it never really got into my soul until I prayed it at the baptism of my own grandchildren.
“Sustain them O Lord by your holy spirit give them and inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere a spirit to know and to love you and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.”
Do we live with inquiring and discerning hearts? Do we approach each day with the courage to will and persevere, as if we have a spirit to know and love God? Do we embrace God’s works in our lives with joy and wonder or is that just being naïve?
We can get caught up in worldly thinking and affairs we forget that the wind of the Spirit breezes through our beings, our whole lives. God continues to call us to be his people in the world.
Jack Conway Attorney General from Kentucky knows about this.I bet he received a top notch education in law school but that wasn’t the filter in place on the day of that speech he made recently. He has to be a really smart guy to be attorney general but I bet he never dreamed in law school of standing before a crowd in a televised speech with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. What made the difference for him? It wasn’t logic it was relationship, putting people above politics receiving counsel from people especially his wife and thinking about what kind of example he was giving to his young daughter. I bet there’s a lot of people that won’t look at him the same way after that decision on both sides You can tell he made his decision from the inside out. That’s the kind of living we are talking about. It doesn’t always look logical or go with the status quo or sit well with those in power. It’s the kind of living that Abram didn’t question and the kind of living that Nic was struggling with. As we continue through Lent are we more like Nic or Abram? Maybe it’s time to change the filters.
sermon written by: The Rev. Joy A. Daley
March 16, 2014
Lent 2A | John 3: 1-17