Jesus came not so God would see or love us differently but so we could see and love God in a fresh way. Jesus offers Nicodemus and us the renewal of our eyes and hearts, our mouths and minds, where we experience wholeness simply because God holds all the pieces together.
Our new birth in God doesn’t require that we leave behind who we used to be. God uses that, integrating it into the fresh creation we are now. Like the potter who takes the same clay and refashions a new creation (Jeremiah 18), God made our essence good. We simply need to relax into a formless shape in God’s hands, trusting the Spirit to mold us.
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr states in his book Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, “Salvation is sin turned on its head and used in our favor” (60). God doesn’t judge or jettison who we’ve been. God’s redeeming hands take those parts, transforming what once held us back into something with which we can bless others.
I painted a picture for my niece with a heart in the canvas’s center. Within the heart, the viewer sees both light and dark colors. In my note to my niece that accompanied the painting, I told her that each one of us holds light and shadow within us, and we need both. All we experience, all we are, coalesce in shaping us. It’s challenging to embrace a wholehearted life; but when we do, we experience rebirth and wholeness.
Perfection is not being flawless but being whole.
Loving God, I know the power a broken heart can generate. The world changed because of your broken heart, and we discover beauty in the pieces. I embrace all I’ve been and all I am in you. Make me whole today. 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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