When my husband and I returned home from the hospital after I gave birth to our daughter, I remember thinking, This precious child depends on me in every way. What do I do now?
Children, while vulnerable and dependent, are also trusting and joyful in their sense of security. My daughter, now a toddler, completely trusts that all she needs is right here in the present moment and that I will be faithful in my promise to care for her.
This is how I understand Jesus’ words to Nicodemus when he invites him to be born anew. The fresh life to which Christ calls us is one of vulnerability—the vulnerability of a child. When we are “born of the Spirit,” we find our lives in the Holy Spirit’s care, and we trust God to be the guiding and providing parent God promises to be.
It can feel threatening to become vulnerable and dependent. Nicodemus struggles to embrace this option, and I do as well. It is hard to live vulnerably in an image-driven, independence-idolizing culture, and it is all the more challenging to depend on the “unseen.”
Jesus asks us to live from the seemingly invisible—the Spirit’s work in us. But such dependence produces very visible results. When we hold life and all that’s in it with open hands, we do not find security in our surrounding circumstances or ourselves. We pray deeply and listen intently. We become open to change, set free in our vulnerability.
Lord Jesus, because of your love and mercy, it is never too late to be what you call me to be. May I be open to what I never expected before, never experienced before, and never thought was possible. May I live in delightful dependence on you. Amen.
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.
• 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.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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