Good morning all!
Today’s scripture: John 12:20-26
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.
Just about every day I wander out to my backyard to check in on things, especially this time of year. There are little seedlings coming up in the first round of planting. I cheer them on and make sure they have what they need. I might even weed just a little to keep the weed population down. And if you know me at all you know that I actually, out loud, cheer on my little seeds. I then wander near the bees to listen and to smell and check out just to make sure all is still busy. Then I wander back to the little greenhouse that is new this year and I peak in on my experiment of growing new plant starts. I am so excited.
I love that moment when plants are just starting to come up in the garden and some of them still have their seed casing attached. The fresh little leaves are emerging from them but it still hasn’t thrown off the old yet.
This small moment of time when seed becomes plant reminds me that sometimes we have to experience death to see new life. That is what Jesus is talking about here. The course is already set in motion. He has already done some pretty radical things to put himself on the spot. This passage takes place after he has raised Lazarus from the dead, accepted the perfume gift from Mary, and is traveling around where he probably shouldn’t. His fame has spread so quickly that even those from far away (which is what John means here when he says “Greeks”) know of Jesus and want to see him. It is happening so quickly that the disciples have no idea what to do when fame spreads and people want to see Jesus. This disciple goes to that disciple until it gets back to Jesus and he responds with the seedling thing. In order for new life, there must be death. Everyone goes through it. When the seed dies away, a plant emerges. It is not that the seed is not remembered or useful in transformation but it must become a new thing.
We had a very intense Palm/Passion Sunday at the CoOp. Some very brave women shared their stories and it centered around sexual abuse. It was hard and it was intense and it brought up stuff. A few people have really challenged me about why we would do it. While I struggled a bit myself with why we would go there I think I stand by the need to deal with stuff sometimes. Even the Palms bring messiness. It is not always about coming to church to just be fine and gloss over what goes on in our lives. In this story there is betrayal and suffering and even death. It gives rise to new life and community and a new way of being. We can’t just hop from celebration to celebration at times…sometimes we do…but this week asks us for so much more depth in order to find Jesus.
So today…think about what might need to die in you this week in order to bring new life. It doesn’t mean that it will go away or not inform. We can’t magically get rid of our stuff but we can allow it to die away to make room for the plant emerging.
Much love and peace!