Dying in Order to Live
I would like to share the reflection of John van de Laar in this week’s Sacredise Lectionary resource. You can read the full reflection on http://sacredise.com/lectionary-resources/lent-5b/
I would like to particularly share his thoughts on John 12:20-33, the very challenging text on dying in order to live, and how we can view that in today's world:
The idea of a new covenant, a new way of being, that calls us to die in order to live may sound too “spiritual” and esoteric to have any relevance in the “real” world, but it is, in fact, exactly what we need as we face the major crises of our generation. We need to die to the economic systems built on unlimited greed and consumption, in order to find a new way to live and use our wealth to build a more sustainable society. We need to die to short-sighted, expedient exploitation of the world’s natural resources for our own gain, in order to make a new covenant with the earth, and find a way to live on our planet with responsibility and restraint. We need to die to our false sense of disconnection with others, and die to our aggressive, protectionist tribalism in order to build a new connected, respectful and equitable world. We need to die to our lack of compassion for the poor, the sick and the oppressed in order to work more intentionally and consistently for justice for all. In so many ways the world as we know it – our current “covenant” with each other, with God and with the earth – is inadequate. Our current “laws” and “traditions” are unable to deal with the challenges we now face. Our organisations and institutions and hopelessly ill-equipped to navigate the complexity of our society. However, to bring about the needed change will require a death. We cannot build a new way of being without letting go of the old. We cannot just “tweak” the systems. We need to release them in some significant ways, and endure the pain, the death, that will result. Death, birth, and change all result in times of chaos before order emerges. Unless we can embrace this chaos, this “dying to live” we will just continue to do things as we always have done, and in the process, we will lose our lives. But, if we are willing to follow Christ, risk the new “covenant” and lose our lives, we will discover a new life – a new world – waiting for us.”
To Pray About: If you are challenged by this reflection, as I was, I would like to invite you to pray with me:
If not for Your embrace of death
John van de Laar
When the truth-twisting accusations were spat in Your face, Jesus,
when the crowds chanted their execution-call,
when the nails forced their way through Your flesh,
Things could have been very different,
if not for Your embrace of death.
But, You knew that love would lead to the cross,
it always does,
to laying down life for the beloved.
and you embraced Your death willingly
inviting us to follow.
So, if not for Your embrace of death,
we could never know what it is
to love those who don’t deserve it;
we could never find the anger
to resist the injustice that steals dignity;
we could never have our hearts broken
at the grief and need of strangers;
we could never risk ourselves
to challenge violence, corruption and abuse.
But, in answer to Your call, we follow You
into the embrace of death,
laying down our lives in small acts of prayer,
service and justice,
allowing the suffering of others into our hearts.
And we ask that in some small way,
our expressions of love and sacrifice,
may bring greater wholeness into our world.