Sermon for the Second Sabbath of Lent
March 15, 2014
We had nothing to do with our birth. And in the big scheme of things, we have had very little to do with our biological, intellectual, psychological and anatomical growth. Our parents initiated a process that is almost unstoppable.
In the third chapter of the gospel of John, a man named Nicodemus comes to Jesus and honors him as a divinely-inspired teacher and -empowered healer. Jesus responds by saying, “In order to see the kingdom of heaven, you must be born from above.” Nicodemus received this response as a command as something he needed to do. Jesus intended it as a recognition of something that God had already done in Nicodemus’ life.
Somehow, Christians have misunderstood this passage as Jesus telling all of us that if we want to enter the the present and future reality of God’s eternal kingdom as something we are responsible for. We have to change. We have to take on a new life. We have to be born again.
But what Jesus is saying is that just as we had absolutely nothing to do with our birth and very little to do with the ongoing life force that pulses through our physical bodies, we have absolutely nothing to do with God birthing the spirit-life, the Christ-imagination, the kingdom-experience, the now-and-forever-salvation in us. God does the birthing. Just as we were birthed by mom and dad, so we have been birthed by our heavenly parent. For this to not be true, you would need to do something akin to making the wind stop blowing, the sun stop shining and the rain stop falling.
If you are reading these words, rest assured, you are born from above. The life of God, revealed by Jesus and brought to us through the Spirit, is pulsing through you as much as the blood is pulsing through your veins. Relax. Enjoy. Celebrate.