I don’t know about you, but I find interruptions to be bothersome. If I have finally found myself “on task” it can be a real nuisance for someone (or something) to pull my attention away. Maybe I finally catch that groove where I can be productive and efficient. Maybe I’m so deep in thought or action that I find it difficult to form words along any other train of thought. Interruptions can be frustratingly intrusive, and the same is true across experiences of life.
Our scripture passage for this Sunday comes with a cornucopia of interruptions. (I’ll let you try to see how many you can count.) It’s unclear how many of these interruptions will make it into the final version of Sunday’s sermon. But let’s start with the most prominent– the Greeks worshipping at the festival. When Jesus speaks, it isn’t grammatically clear whether he is addressing his disciples or the Greeks requesting an audience. From the content alone, it would seem Jesus is talking to his disciples. But if that’s the case, then it would seem the Greeks are kind of snubbed by Christ. Is it that Jesus couldn’t be bothered, or that his itinerary for the week was too tight? Were these individuals more interested in a “magic show” than a prophetic message from the God of Israel? Do we as Christians ever approach Jesus with expectations and then wander off when we don’t get what we want? I think it’s important to ask questions like these in order to find meaning beneath the surface of scripture.
Speaking of finding meaning beneath the surface of scripture — [see what I did there?] — click here to read the fifth session of our Lenten Series called “Spiritual Practices for the Wilderness!” This week we are exploring the practice of Lectio Divina. You are invited to watch this week’s video and participate in the guided experience. You may even want to practice Lectio Divina on your own with a few verses from John chapter 12. If you’d like to workshop your experiences with Lectio Divina, feel free to join us on Monday evening at 6:30.
As always, we’d love for you to join us for online worship at 9am Sunday morning. If you’d like to unpack and explore the scripture and message further, you might want to try out the Wednesday Bible Study. That group reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions listed below. If you’re interested in joining 11:30-12:30 on Wednesday morning, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and they will send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are 100% welcome and encouraged (and you might even see me there)! I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!
John 12:17-33 (NRSV)
So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
Questions to consider:
- How many interruptions can you find from the scripture passage above?
- Reading all of John chapter 12, why do you think the Greeks wanted to see Jesus?
- What has interrupted your life this past year, and how has it affected you spiritually?
- Do you feel God calling you to respond to interruptions differently; and if so, in what way?