The Rev. Canon Stuart A. Kenworthy
Today’s Gospel: John 5:19–29
One very strong childhood memory was watching the Rev. Billy Graham on television on a summer evening preach to a packed Shea Stadium in New York. There was something so clear, compelling and authentic in his message that proclaimed the splendorous truth of Jesus Christ to millions. And it all led to an opportunity to decide: To say “yes” to Christ, or not. Even at that young age I was moved by the sight of so many who rose and went forward to meet God in the person of Jesus Christ. I sensed strongly the power of the conviction of his faith and his love for God and God’s people. And I wanted to know more about that in my own life.
Billy Graham was a force for God, yet he did not stand alone, but on the shoulders of so many in every generation going back to the evangelists, apostles and earliest followers of Jesus.
And so it was with John, the writer of a Gospel that stands the test of time in a daring, compelling and soaring presentation of Jesus Christ that forged a foundation for much of Christian belief.
John is constantly summoning his hearers and readers to a decision. As the great American writer, Reynolds Price expressed this in his book, Three Gospels, “John’s sole demand is this, ‘Trust in this man or die forever. Assent to Jesus’ divinity, and eternal life will follow.’”
In approaching the Passion of Christ in this Lenten journey, there is much for us to consider, and perhaps even to decide.
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen