Archive for March 5th, 2007

Dying to Live

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 12:20-26 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

Do you ever read things Jesus said and think, “I just don’t get it”? If so, you’re not alone. The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus’ disciples were constantly confused by the things he had to say, and many of his teachings continue to confound scholars and seekers.

This is one of those Gospel stories that, on the surface, makes me go, “Huh?”

First there’s the subject whiplash: the Disciples came to Jesus to tell him about some new Greek followers and he started talking about losing one’s life. Huh? Then there’s the difficulty of the saying itself: “Very 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.” What?

Upon reflection, I think the subject whiplash in this story is significant because it tells us about Jesus’ state of mind at the time. He had come to Jerusalem knowing he would probably be killed. He was also feeling alone with his burdens and cares. If Jesus was distracted from the people around him by the worries of his life, then we shouldn’t chastise ourselves when we too feel stressed and lonely.

However, the message of Jesus’ words is also significant, because it gives us a key to how to survive those stressed, lonely periods in our lives. I think Jesus was sending a message to himself as much as to the Disciples that day.

When I’m feeling lonely and overwhelmed by life, my first reaction is to become even more selfish and insulated from the people around me. I don’t think I have the time to focus on anyone else, because I’m too overwhelmed by my own worries. But Jesus was reminding us — and himself — if we want to break free from our loneliness and fear, the antidote is to give our lives away.

When things seem bleak, look outside yourself. See how you can help those around you, and soon you’ll find you’re part of a community. On the other hand, if you cut yourself off and become selfish about your time and your life, you’ll only become more lonely and more fearful. Eventually, you’ll lose even the bleak life you have.

Thought for the day: Even Jesus had bad days, but he also knew the antidote — reach out to those around you. Give yourself away. Think of the dried-up corn kernel, which gives its own life to eventually become part of a delicious cob of corn.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: our Associate Pastor, Rev. Tammy Mills.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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