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The smell of blood

by davesandel on March 25th, 2012

 Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Hebrews 5:8

Son though he was, Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered.

John 12:23-24, 31-32

Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit … Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

During the dark night of the soul, John of the Cross says that God accomplishes several things in those he leads there: “knowledge of oneself and one’s misery, a greater respect and courtesy in communing with God, a knowledge of the greatness and excellence of God, spiritual humility, love of our neighbors brought about by less judgment, submission, and obedience to direction.”

Thomas Green says of this awe-full experience, “It is true that the dark night is a dangerous time.  But if we hang on blindly we will find that the Lord is far stronger than Satan, and that the humility, docility and love which he is implanting in us, precisely by means of darkness, will make despair a more and more impossible option.”

Obedience like this is not shallow.  It allows me to surrender ego to history and to hope.  I let my anger go.  And there is no fear in this love.

In a Rolling Stone interview with Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen says, “I have a metaphor.  You’re in a car, your new selves can get in, but your old selves can’t get out.  You bring in new guidance and vision, but you can’t lose or forget who you’ve been or what you’ve seen.  The child, the adolescent boy, they are with you until the end of the ride.  The key, of course, is who’s driving.  On any given day, you’re hoping that one of your better angels is at the wheel.”

Jesus’ better angel is at the wheel.  The obedience he has learned frees him from regret.  He sees the future that his Father sees.  He is free to die.  His grain of wheat produces much fruit.  Jesus drives out the ruler of this world.  He draws everyone to himself.

In this drawing, he calls us to follow him and discover the same mystery … the utterly counter-intuitive path of an obedient lamb being led to slaughter.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Let me set aside my protections and my doubt.  I want to receive you and welcome you into all of me.

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