Thursday, September 11, 2014

Holy Cross Year A - John 3:13-17

John 3:13-17
“God did not send the Son into the world to condemn it” but apparently the church didn’t get the memo. We've copyrighted the Son and condemn anyone who does not buy into the franchise. On the other hand John 3:18 (…those who do not believe are condemned already) seems to give us permission to divide the world into us and them. So what gives? Is there a password to paradise or not? Whenever I ask that question I hear my teacher and mentor The Reverend Doctor Walter Bouman saying “that’s the wrong question.” Which is to say we tend to rush to the end of the story without considering the narrative. God’s intention to not send the Son into the world to condemn it is first and foremost a statement about God. Every two bit small g god knows how to put on a light show and beat down the peasants into submission. The big G God of Israel abandons the place of power to make a small hill outside an insignificant city of an occupied nation the location of suffering that will be salvation for the world. What we do with that doesn't have anything to do with God’s intention even if our acceptance or rejection holds consequences that trump God’s desire. The world gets condemnation. We invented it and have spent considerable time and energy finding ways to be creative in our cruelty. God is not the one who condemns. We are. But God offers a way out of our inhumanity by meeting the world at its worst and letting the world’s way condemn the Son sent to love. So the choice we are given is to believe that in the end the way of love will overcome the condemnation that comes naturally to us. 

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