From Gavin’s desk 08/03/2020
Readings: Psalm 121, Genesis 12: 1-4, Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17, John 3: 1-17
When a baby is born, there should be an acknowledgement that the baby is born and there should be a community that surrounds that child in order to ensure that the child grows well and that as the child matures they will be able to add value to the community and to continue the traditions that have been passed down by remembering the stories and telling them to the babies who have come after them and who they have helped to nurture and teach in the way of community. Even in the best of traditions though, there are unhealthy traditions or prejudices or exclusions that are passed on from one generation to the next. How much worse would it be when there is no acknowledgement of a child’s birth or when there is no community to surround the child and help it on to maturity? Should a child that is left to its own devices survive, they will most likely only ever learn to take care of themselves and will probably struggle to understand the importance of taking care of the other even though it is what they would long to do.
God’s call to Abram to leave behind his heritage and his tradition and Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus about rebirth is a call to allow God the space to clean out the closet of our past of those things that are not of God and are not healthy for community. The fact is that this process is a life-long process because as we come into a relationship with God through Christ, we cannot leave anything behind and we struggle to let go of what we have always believed to be true. There are some foundations that we build our lives on that are unhealthy and so it is in the presence of God and by the grace of God that we are set free to acknowledge our past and to leave it in the presence of God’s healing love one brick at a time, one foundation at a time. Our new birth is a moment in which we become more fully aware of who we are and of how we are designed. It is a moment of experiencing the possibility of doing life better; whether we come from what we would consider a healthy community or from no community at all. It is a moment in which we become aware of ourselves sitting at the feet of the Creator of perfect community and the Teacher of perfect tradition. We become aware of God renewing our understanding of what is important and of what is good and of what is healthy. Rebirth is a moment in which we recognise the fantastic possibilities that are open before us of being holy as God is Holy.
Which of our traditions do we need to let go of in order to see the Kingdom that Christ speaks of? Which of our understandings of community are the walls that exist between what we live and what we were created to live? Which of the foundations upon which we have built our lives are the obstacles to our entering the Kingdom of God here on earth? Which of our behaviours perpetuate injustice instead of work for justice? How well do our lives and our lives together as community open the Gates of Christ’s Kingdom so that others would want to enter in? Come. Sit at the feet of the perfect teacher of the perfect tradition and grow in the glorious heritage and inheritance that is yours. This is rebirth.