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Giving … up!

by davesandel on March 21st, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

John 5:17-30

The Jewish leaders were angry because Jesus healed on the Sabbath and then called God his own father, making himself equal to God.  He spoke to them, “My Father is always at his work, and I too am working … The Son can do nothing by himself, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does …

“Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.  Nor does the Father judge anyone, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father … Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life …

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

When Paul wrote in Philippians that Jesus “emptied himself and made himself nothing,” then, Jesus implies here:  that is also what the Father does.  When the Father empties himself into the Son, and the Son empties himself into the Father, there is a great filling and fusion and synergy that empties itself into the Holy Spirit and then into the world.

Always there is this Giving.  God gives and gives and gives.  This is how he lives and wants me to live.  Whenever I hold on (and that’s most of the time) rather than letting go, I do a little dying.  Whenever I give my mind over, my body over, my “stuff” over to God, Jesus says I “cross over from death to life.”  He knows what he’s talking about; he does it himself every moment of every day.

God takes the shape and form and face of each person that I meet.  “When you fed the hungry child and visited the prisoner and cared for the man and woman who were sick, you fed me, you visited me, you cared for me.”

My undertaker friend tells me that at the time of physical death, every muscle in the body relaxes.  Even the sphincter muscle, if you get the idea.  Of course that is embarrassing.  Or would be, if I were here to be embarrassed.

To know this kind of freedom spiritually and emotionally and even physically while I’m still alive … it does seem a little embarrassing, a little scary.  Maybe more than a little.  But I think this is what Jesus has in mind.

Let me rest and relax, more than I can imagine, in your omni-giving, Lord.  You tell me, “Go and do likewise.  Go and sin no more.”  You lead the way; there is no place I would not go with you.  Free my body and my mind from fear.  I believe; help my unbelief.

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