Weekly e-Devotion: March 16 Edition

John 12:20-33
Gospel Lesson for 
March 18 2018

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. 27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

    This week’s gospel is such a rich portrayal of Jesus’ struggle with his identity and mission and the resolution that his hour has come, and all—both Jew and Gentile—would be drawn to him through his death on the cross. In this passage, Jesus chooses us over his earthly life.  As one writer put it, “He can save his life or He can be our savior, but he cannot do both.”
    Verse 24 is one of the multitude of agricultural images used in scripture and by Jesus to signal a divine truth.  Evidently, scientists concur that seeds do, in fact, die when put in the ground but, given the right conditions of soil, temperature, and moisture, these wonder-workers “turn on” again and begin to grow and produce more than we even should expect from one tiny seed hidden in the ground.
    Jesus connects this metaphor to our most important “death experience” in the very next verse (25): “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  Hate?  The life we have been given?  Yes, because in its unredeemed state our life is not what God intended or envisioned.  If we cling to earthly perceptions of the good life, we will completely miss the “abundant life” God has promised us. And, irony upon irony, what we fear the most will never happen because, as we kill off and surrender each attitude and action that does not spring from our relationship with God, we discover ourselves more alive and joyous than before. St. Francis knew this well and wrote, “It is in giving that we receive… it is in dying that we are raised to eternal life.” (See also Luke 6:38)
    The greatest insight in all of spirituality is the necessity of letting go.  It is a letting go of our flawed and selfish sense of who we are and deciding to really believe that our true self is “hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).” Maybe this means letting go of a career to answer a call; letting go of our notion that our bootstraps will lift us to glory and, instead, embracing the fact that the Holy Spirit is our guide into our true God-planned destiny.  And yes, this will definitely feel like dying.
    Franciscan retreat master, Fr. Richard Rohr, has written that this process of letting go is to lead us to the experience of an “identity transplant.” He writes, “…what characterizes the mystics and the sinners who have done that great collapse (back into a deep sense of who they are in God) is as Paul said it, ‘I live no longer.’ This self that I used to think was myself is precisely the self that I’m not and I stop believing its pretenses.  I stop posturing and posing and pretending and living up to this image that this little self that I took so seriously for so many years could ever be perfect, could ever be right, could ever, by itself, think well of itself.” What grace to release our failed selves into the loving arms of our Savior.  Rohr continues, “…the essential spiritual question is, ‘Where do we abide?’”
Those who approached Philip and said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” were told by Jesus: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also (v. 26).” As they say in real estate, “location, location, location.” And the best location of all is to abide with Him.  Is there a move in your future? 

e-Devotion author: Nance Wabshaw.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Carole Becker at cbecker@allsaintsphoenix.org or 602.319.0959 .

The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website or our Facebook page.



Grant, Lord Jesus, that we may be Spirit-filled and follow you this day, lying down our lives for those in need. Amen

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Bible Readings

March 18
5th Sunday in Lent
Click HERE to read
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33 *

March 25
Palm Sunday 
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Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 11:1-11 or
John 12:12-16

* eDevotion Bible text(s)

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Genesis 21:8-21 and Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Jeremiah 20:7-13 and Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10:24-39

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