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  • Writer's pictureScott P

Weekly Liturgy : March 11-17

Served.
Served.
John 12:20-30

20-22 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.


23-26 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.


27-29 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.


30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.”


 

REFLECTIONS:

Thoughts from Scott:


In the Christian Scriptures, there is a section in the book of Revelation in which the writer (John) is given a vision of heaven.  John sees this mighty angel holding a Scroll representing the history of the world, and the angel calls out in a loud voice, asking if there is anyone who is strong enough to open the scroll.  The idea is that in opening the scroll, all the problems of the world will be solved (wouldn’t that be nice right about now?).  Sadly, nobody steps up.  Nobody, in the whole universe, is strong enough to fix this broken world—and John begins to weep.  Then suddenly, another angels stops John, exclaining “Look!  There is a LION on the throne—the Lion is strong enough to open the scroll.”  John turns to look, but instead of fierce badass lion, he sees a humble LAMB—who appears to have been slaughtered.  At that moment, everyone in heaven become overjoyed, shouting (paraphrase) “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain—the lion who is a lamb—you are worthy to open the scroll and heal the world!”  


In John 12, Jesus is saying the last thing that anyone expects:  Seeds becoming fruitful only when they die; people finding life by losing it; leaders who rule by becoming servants.  Just like John expecting to see the world saved by a powerful LION, we humans seem to assume that the thing we need for the challenges before us is POWER.  Success.  Personal awesomeness.  Being better.  But Dying to self?  Servanthood?  Weakness?  I must confess that a big part of me would rather live life as a Lion, not a Lamb.  


And yet Jesus is clear that His way is the way of the Lamb:  choosing to serve over being served, choosing to “die” to one’s self interest and self power.  Somehow, the way to “Life” is this way of “Death.”  It’s counterintuitive. It’s upside down.  


If I had to sum all that up into one word, I might pick “Vulnerability.”  


Brene Brown (a professor, researcher, writer) talks a lot about vulnerability.  She often talks about vulnerability as “Having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome…being all in…engaging…to ask for what you need…to talk about how you’re feeling…to have the hard conversations…open to being hurt…open to love.” 


In my own life, when I choose to be vulnerable, I am taking a risk to be and give my true self—and also at the same time, willing to receive what the other person thinks or is or has to offer, even/especially when it scares me silly.  


At C@P, we talk a lot about “Outward Mindset”—moving  away from a self-focused inward mindset and toward an others-inclusive outward mindset.  That takes vulnerability. 


And yet, somehow, when I risk this kind of vulnerability, that’s when the magic happens:  connections emerge, relationships strengthen, brick walls weaken, progress is made, and—LIFE begins again, even in places that feel like  death.



 

PRACTICE:

Outward Mindset Application

Before completing the items on your to-do list this week, ask yourself: who will benefit from these items more, myself or someone else?  Try to adjust the way you accomplish your tasks to be more beneficial for others than your original answer.


Pathways toward Centeredness

Caregiving (Loving God through care and compassion for others):

Is there a friend in your life experiencing financial burden? If it’s financially healthy for you, ask that friend if you can help cover the cost of an expense this week.


Questions for Reflection

Are there situations in your life right now where you’re feeling a struggle/opportunity to move away from being “self-focused” and toward being more “others-inclusive.”?  


What about that feels vulnerable to you? What about it feels like death?  


What might a step of vulnerability look like?

What are you willing to risk in order to experience life?

 

“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.


Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.



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