The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope
Today’s Gospel: John 7:1-13
Today’s gospel reading is troubling on so many levels. Jesus is being thoughtful about his travel because he knows that the religious leaders are plotting to kill him. His would-be followers, “his brothers,” are pressuring him to go to Judea to “show yourself to the world” because they do not believe in him…and that is just in the first five verses!
I have often wondered what it would be like to live with the reality that people were plotting to kill you because your message of love, inclusion and justice was a threat to the status quo. What got Jesus into trouble prior to this passage was healing a lame man on the Sabbath and his claim to be God’s son. Jesus was breaking the rules and the religious leaders were not happy. Their positions and power structure were clearly at risk.
As a priest, it is a painful reminder and wake up call that “religious leaders” can and do miss what God is doing right in our midst. Who today is breaking the rules because they are faithfully following the lead of the Holy Spirit, yet it threatens the status quo? What power structures need to be toppled for the way of love, inclusion and justice to be made manifest? I daily ask God to help me not to miss it, but I know there are times when I resist and fail God and God’s people.
Lent is a season when we are all called to pay attention to the leading of the Spirit, knowing that God may be doing a new thing in our midst. We may need to let some things go or die in the process, but we know that Easter is on the other side of Good Friday. Thanks be to God!
Grant, most merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.