February 29

Saturday, February 29, 2020

John 12:20-26

My grandfather was a wheat farmer. His annual struggle was to get the ground plowed and then get the wheat in the ground. Then it was in the nature’s hands … God’s hands. Grain grew. Harvest. Repeat. I can remember holding grain in my hand and marveling at how this small grain produces so much more just by putting it in the ground.

Jesus understood agrarian realities. He also understood that life was never about a single grain … it was about the collective that was required to put bread on the table. He also understood something greater than that. These texts are hard to hear. Falling into the earth … dying … hating our life that we might have life. Where is Jesus taking us here?

John Donne’s famous poem, No Man is an Island, tells us of the truth I think Jesus is telling us:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

This text is not about self-loathing. It is about being folded into the whole of creation … of being part of the other as the other is part of me … to the point that there is no “I” that can exist apart from “us.” It is about understanding organically that we are all part of the integrated whole of creation. When we can see from that vantage point, we will have discovered the kingdom of God.

God, give me eyes to see all of creation as you see it. Fully integrated and completely whole. Amen.

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