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What do we ever lose by dying?

by davesandel on March 31st, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 11:55-56

The Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.  They looked for Jesus.

Little do they know … in just a week, Jesus will be nowhere to be found.  He will lie darkened and dead, as they wonder at the events of his crucifixion, in a hidden grave, waiting through the Sabbath for spices and embalming.  Jesus is not long for this world. Jesus is dying.

But now they look for Jesus.  Will he come to Jerusalem?  Will he show his face and risk arrest?  The serpentine politics of the temple are perfect for the gossip mill, rumors whispered in the temple courts.  What does Caiaphas think?  What will he do?  How will Jesus survive?

Many hope Jesus will be victorious.  That he will triumph over his adversaries, crush them and rise upon their bodies.  But this is the way of the devil, whispering sweet nothings among them, wending his way among their crowded minds. They think, of course, that what they hear is good, not evil.  The darkness in them welcomes the darkness outside them, and it all seems like light.

This is not the way of God.  Jesus’ way to victory and life goes through death.  That is complicated, difficult to express in whispers and rumors.  He speaks of it and they are confused.  It is so easy to turn once again away.

I am just as troubled.  Jesus’ way of living toward the cross is not how I live unless it is imposed on me.  I am troubled by lack of comfort and security, regardless of how ephemeral and temporary either might be.  I hold on, and therefore it is difficult to let go.

Caiaphas earlier this week prophecied that Jesus will die, one man instead of a whole people.  Jesus, in contrast, invites us to die with him, and therein find life.

Open my tight fists, Lord, and let me let go.  Rub the muscles that are so tight from holding on, and encourage me.  Thank you for your patience and your love and your example and your invitation.

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