Monday, March 26, 2012
Read: Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. John 12:23-24 (The Message)
Think About: Some Greeks had come to see Phillip and told them that they wanted to "see" Jesus. Phillip goes to Andrew for counsel and they go to see Jesus. From John 10:16 Jesus states "I have sheep that are not of this fold" which may refer to the Greeks who have come to see him at the time of Passover, before the crucifixion. After the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, others "not of this fold" are coming to "see" Jesus. They got the message and believed in Jesus through "seeing" in a different way. They wanted to be a part of the fold of the one who forgives sins, grants eternal life and gives unending grace and mercy. By this time, it wasn't only the "locals" around Jerusalem, but it was the world that was seeking Jesus.
In John 12:23-24, Jesus refers to his crucifixion and resurrection that will take place to make possible the forgiveness of the sins that keep us bound up and unable to experience the grace and freedom offered by a loving God.
I want to "see Jesus" in a different way, but the way the world operates, it is difficult to "bury" myself to be able to freely serve on the road to kingdom building. During Lent, I'm attempting to practice "dying" to self to seek more time with Jesus.
A 90-year old friend has been a life-long example of "burying" oneself by, as I have observed, dying to worldly expectations. By dying to worldly expectations and choosing instead to serve God, his life has produced fruit. One of his first jobs was to drive a truck for a small bread company that delivered bread and milk to front doors. He held service-oriented jobs. During World War II, he chose to work as a hospital orderly rather than face the thought of being put into a position where another person could be harmed.
Later in life, he served a well-known Christian camp as its operations director, doing whatever was needed to ensure that facilities would be ready and operational for the hundreds of families who would visit. He chose humility through "burying self "and serving God, and it was clear to everyone who met him. He was a quiet soul to be around, leading Bible studies, teaching Sunday school and serving others most all of his life. I would say that he would fall into the fourth check box in the "Aware of and Seeks the Presence of God" column of the traits of a disciple grid printed in the Construction Manual. It reads: "I am deeply aware of the presence of God. My deep faith helps me trust that presence even when it is not felt."
In the bulletin, under the "Serve" heading, St. Luke's offers several grains of wheat that we can help grow. Service opportunities are divided into "Within our Community" and "Within Our Church". Could you pick one of them that you are passionate about and offer to serve? Some of these "grains of wheat" are short-term and may help you move your check mark on the disciple grid to the next column. Ask a friend to join you in your service opportunity.
I observe two palm plants on my patio. Right now, they are transforming themselves daily. Tiny blooms appear on them that turn into seeds. The seeds drop onto the hard surface of the patio where they are unable to reproduce and bear fruit. I can sweep them into a dustpan, or I can plant them. If I plant them, I will have to nurture them to help them grow. They will need light, not shadow, but light to grow. In my spiritual life, I need the light of God's word to grow. I need to nurture my spiritual path so that I can be transformed. Many people, including my 90-year-old friend, have been good examples for ways to direct my life towards Jesus.
Pray this Prayer: Dear Lord, Help me believe and have faith in your presence even when I may not feel it. Amen.
Written by the St. Luke's Writing Team
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