Pacific Beach United Methodist Church welcomes all people, regardless of age, race, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, physical condition, sexual orientation, ethnic background, immigration status, or economic situation.
Adam Marshall-Lopez leads us as we examine both the tension between Jesus and his family (evident in their attempt to take him out of public view) and the “inner” teaching about the unforgivable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
Our scripture passage for today highlights a Pharisee named Nicodemus whose interest, curiosity and hope appeared to be piqued by Jesus. Jesus tells him that all must be “born again” or “born from above” and Nicodemus struggles with what that might possibly mean. “How can we possibly be born again when we’ve already been born?”
I think the notion of walking in the truth…the truth of who we are and whose we are…is probably a fairly appealing notion to most of us. Our spirits, I believe, inherently yearn for this type of authenticity. But day to day reality has taught many of us that this is probably easier said than done. There are all kinds of things and forces and entities that tempt us to step outside of our truth, sometimes unnecessarily puffing ourselves up…sometimes tamping down the essence of who we are.
Perhaps you have noticed that some portions of this week’s Scripture seem more familiar than others. Some of this is due to sheer repetition — as in the case of John 3:16 or Psalm 23. Other occasions are due to certain material actually being repeated in the scriptures. Our passage on Sunday has two very instances of this!
There was an activity at camp where we handed out cups, upside down, to each of the campers on the field. We turned on the sprinklers and hoses and told the campers to collect as much water as they could with their cups upside down and help each other fill their cups. Of course, they were a little confused and soaked as they ran around trying to figure out how to get water into their cup. It wasn’t until we had told them that this is kinda how we do life. We run around with our cups empty. It’s not until we consciously flip our cup and make room for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to enter into the cup and into our lives.
Being “born again” is language that most of us are probably familiar with but many of us may not have adopted or used. What was Jesus talking about in being born again? How might that be meaningful for our lives as Christians who continue to seek to follow in Jesus’ way and live lives of faith, love and service in the world?