Monthly Archives: March2015

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Pastor’s Blog:  Rev. Todd Watson   March 22, 2015

Sunday’s text in John’s gospel (John 12:22-30) comes from very near the end of Jesus’ public ministry. Just a few verses later, John moves us into the story of the Last Supper and Jesus’ final discourse to his disciples, and then of course into the arrest and trial and crucifixion of Jesus. But these words here are very nearly the final words Jesus said to the public before his trial. So it’s not surprising that this passage is filled with gloom and foreboding.

Of course, we’ve looked in the back of the book., and we know how the story ends. It will end with the empty tomb and the Resurrection. Jesus will be raised from the dead, death will be defeated, and we will celebrate the great feast of Easter.

But we’re not there yet. This is still Lent, and the Passion is yet to come. We’re still in the darkness, waiting for the light.  There are some hard sayings in this gospel passage. The first one is this: “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.”

In the gospel this sentence goes by so quickly you almost don’t notice it, and none of Jesus’ listeners comment on it. I think this is a pity, because this one sentence is a better description of the Passion of Jesus than almost anything else in the gospels.

Imagine being a grain of wheat. You might be a very good grain of wheat. You might be happy and contented being a grain of wheat. You might want nothing more in heaven and earth than to go on being a simple grain of wheat.

But you can’t. The grain of wheat has only two choices: it can give up everything it knows about being wheat, it can surrender itself to a process it doesn’t know and can’t understand, and it can sprout, and grow, and become a green and growing living thing with a power and a life that a grain of wheat could never even imagine.

Or… it can die, and rot, and become nothing but an empty husk. New life or nothingness; those are the choices. The grain of wheat might wish desperately for some third option, some other path, but there isn’t one.

And this pattern, this movement from life to death to rebirth to new life, is the template that Christ has set for us with his death and resurrection. We might prefer it if there were an easier way, something kinder and gentler, but there isn’t. There is no path to transformation that does not begin with giving up what you are now. There is no path to rebirth that does not go through death. There is no path to Easter that does not go through Good Friday.

We are approaching Easter, probably the Most Holy day of Christianity.  And we will have a choice again this year, that we have every year as this Lent, Holy Week, Easter cycle returns.  Will we let go of who we currently are (in essence die to ourselves) in order to become who we can be in God, or will we remain only as we are, not growing or becoming in answer to God’s call.  May God bless our individual and group journeys into the Easter experience.

 

Prayer Shawl Ministry

The closet, and meeting area, has been relocated to the former Dura Segrest Sunday school room.  The Prayer Shawl Ministry Team meets on Tuesdays at noon for a brown bag lunch, fellowship, and blessing of shawls prior to distribution.  Anyone interested in learning to crochet or knit or would like to join this team are welcome.  If you would like to check out a prayer shawl, you may contact Vivian Pierce or Edwina Stokes at the 8:30 a.m. Worship Service, Carolyn Singletary or Pam Moore at the 9:00 a.m. Fellowship Service and Tina Hoda or Patricia Cameron at 11:00 a.m. Worship Service. Please document, in the notebook provided, the requested information concerning each shawl distributed.  To date, we have distributed 876 prayer shawls. This ministry operates on donations, if you would like to make a contribution, please make your check payable to MSUMC and mark it “Prayer Shawl Ministry”.