Monday, April 29, 2013

No Good Deed . . .

The gospel passage for this week is John 5 . . . something.
It's about the man waiting by the pool for healing, and J. asks the $64,000 question:   Do you want to be healed?  The guy doesn't say yes or no or please or thanks for asking.  He says, "It's not my fault.  Whenever the water is troubled (by an angel) and it's time for me to go in, somebody always butts ahead of me in line and I get left behind."  Wah, wah, wah. 
But Jesus - in spite of the whining, heals the guy anyway.  And he gets up and leaves.  But when he does, he runs afoul of the authorities, who don't give a rip that he's healed.  They are ticked off because he's carrying his mat on the Sabbath.   Does the guy explain that he just received grace beyond measure and is the living proof of a miracle?  No.  He says, "I'm just doing what I was told.  Some guy told me to take up my mat and walk, so I did.  It's not my fault." 
In a little while he meets up with Jesus again and gets his name.  And promptly goes back to the authorities and tells them exactly who it is who got him in trouble.  And the authorities are outraged and decide to figure out some way to get rid of Jesus.  And Jesus' response is "My Father is still working and I am still working." 

Wow.  I just love that.  In spite of the unworthy man, the ungrateful response, the inflexible and judgmental authorities . . . in spite of being "turned in" and turned on by the rat whose life he had transformed, Jesus affirms that God is working.  Wow. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

New commandment

 This week's sermon text is the new commandment from Jesus - Love one another.  
And I'm thinking I'll just tell the story about him washing the disciple's feet, sending Judas out and then telling them that this is what he expects of them in the glorious future.  

David Lose's blog link to the happiness project challenges me to think if the worship experience is "useful" to folks.  If it helps them in their daily lives.  If it helps them grow spiritually.  And I think if anything could help us grow spiritually, it would be intentionally pushing ourselves to love.  To do and say the loving thing.  To increase the well being of our family and friends and neighbors and enemies.  To serve.  

So I don't know where I'll go with that.  But I also think this quote from Simone Weil fits.  I think she was the mystic that Diogenes Allen had us read, to my chagrin.  I see this fitting in that Jesus says "Glory" five times before he commands them to love.  And this quote seems to tie love (goodness) with glorious things.

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” Simone Weil