Many circumstances can become invitations to rebirth: a move to a new community, a new role or relationship, a major loss, or an offer to try something fresh vocationally. It’s often scary to encounter and embrace the invitation in any of these situations.
Romans 8 invites us to a freedom amid fear. Fear need not control us because we are “children of God” and “joint heirs with Christ.” If our root identity is as God’s children, then we share in the trinitarian family of Creator, Christ, and Spirit. We are like part four of the loving circle! If we live from our identity as God’s children, then we can call on God as parent and find a divine nearness that settles our spirits.
Because of this promise in Romans 8, we experience rebirth both through releasing and receiving. We release the anxiety that’s gnawed a tender spot in the bottom of our souls. We release our fear of the future’s uncertainty (because it is uncertain, and that’s okay. God will be with us). We release the simmering bitterness that’s bubbled on the back burner for way too long. We release the unfair expectations, the frustrations and secrets we’ve carried for years. We release the stories we no longer want to live. And instead, we receive new life. We are freed to make courageous decisions, live generously, extend grace to all (including ourselves), and find peace amid ambiguity. Trust and an abundance mentality steer this new life.

Abba God, today I receive your love that promises I am your child. I receive your peace that reminds me all will be well. I receive your voice as the wise whisper I follow. I receive a new story. Thank you, God, that you enfold me in a giant embrace, releasing me to freedom and receiving me to love. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 3:1-17

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Lectionary Week
May 21–27, 2018
Scripture Overview

This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine throughout the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In the passage in Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 6:1-8. When have you experienced a cleansing by God, resulting in a greater willingness to serve?
• Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
• Read Romans 8:12-17. What have you released to God? What bitterness has taken its toll on your soul? Are you ready to let it go?
• Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.