This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, a day when the church highlights the wonderful and mysterious notion of the Divine being expressed in three different entities – God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – while emphasizing that all of those entities are one. Our scripture passage this week highlights a Pharisee named Nicodemus whose interest, curiosity and hope appeared to be piqued by Jesus. He came to Jesus at night to ask questions about Jesus’ identity but also about God and the life of faith. 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?”
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? Join us on Sunday as we eavesdrop on this private, nighttime conversation and consider the implications for our modern day lives.
All are welcome to join us for worship on-line or in the Fellowship Hall. We will be adding more “live” elements to the Worship Watch Party throughout June. No reservations are required to attend but all will be asked to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, including masking and social distancing, and if we have more people than can safely be in the Fellowship Hall, we’ll seat people outside with an audio feed of the service. Our Church Council will be discussing changes to the California and local guidelines set to go into effect on June 15th and how those changes might impact us as a faith community. We will modify safety precautions carefully and intentionally. We want all who choose to come onto campus, from the youngest to the oldest, to feel welcome and safe. I’m looking forward to being with you on Sunday, on-line or in person, as we worship God and open our lives to God’s grace, peace and invitation!
John 3:1-17 (NRSV)
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Questions to consider:
- What does it mean to you that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night? Do you have different types of conversations at night than you do in the daytime?
- What has been your understanding of the term “born again”? Is it a term that you’ve adopted or used? Why or why not?
- How can the notion of “being born again” be a word of grace or invitation for people of faith?