There has been a music festival going on here at the Church for the past week now. And the room beside my office has a piano and this is where the young people have been coming to warm up before the go on stage. It has been an interesting week in that there are lots of young people in the building and more than one or two amazing voices. There has also been upset, anger, and people rushing for a bathroom to be sick. The building has been alive with the energy of so many people.
So, as we approach Sunday and the Gospel (John 12.20-33) it has put a different slant how I see and understand this moment in Jesus’ life and in the lives of the people around him. Jerusalem was abuzz with everything that was going on. The whole world was coming to see this Jesus and the things that he was doing, especially after he raised Lazarus from the dead. They wanted at least some small part of what was going on for themselves. Jesus’ opponents, who had hoped to make a quick and easy end of him and his ways, had seemingly been thwarted. They would not acknowledge who Jesus was and what God the Father was doing through him because he was changing what people were doing and believing. The whole world was seeking him.
Case and point, a group of God-fearing Greeks who were living a Jewish life style without fully committing to the Law, came and found Phillip (a Greek named disciple of Jesus) and asked if he would take them to Jesus so that they could interview him and figure out if they would follow him or not. Phillip takes them to Andrew and together they take this unnumbered group to Jesus. The discussion leads to conversation about following him – and letting go of their agendas. They were going need to live the whole life in the light. This means that they were going to have to follow and not just on their terms but on God’s.
Life on a farm is no different from being a disciple. There are simple rules and they need to be obeyed. I know because I grew up on a small farm where we had and raised horses, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, and the occasional goose. Most, if not all my family when they came from Europe (England, Ireland. Scotland and Sweden) they came to the Canadian prairies to farm and homestead. You may not know this because much of my life has been spent on or near the ocean in BC and in Newfoundland and Labrador. Being in farm country has its rules as does living on the ocean.
Number one rule on the farm. Don’t get attached to anything you are going to eat. Don’t name it and don’t make a deep commitment because for there to be life, there is going to be death. There was not to be at the supper table, a discussion of ‘who’ we were eating. With seed it is different. Seed is not cute or fuzzy. Seed is not fuzzy or cuddly. We cannot get attached to seed like we can to a horse, a dog or even a chicken named “Fonzie”. But we can pin out hope on the outcomes of the seed. If it does not do well, there will be consequences. No bread, no feed, no life.
Jesus wants us to consider our lives like seed for the next generation of the Church. Our lives need to be offered and given so that there can be another generation in this place. Our lives are the seed of the next generation. Those who are to follow us are the fruit of our ministry. This means we need to live in such away that people can see Jesus and come and see him. We are called upon to reject this life and the way that the world wants us to live it as if it is the only way that life can be lived. Living life the way that the world demands us to, leaves us trapped and desperate for something else, something better. Such life causes anxiety and causes us to live in the dark without hope.
People in this community, this province and this country need to see more of Jesus. We must lift Jesus up. We must glorify the Father. We need to see Jesus again and again so that we can capture afresh both a reminder of who he is and what we are called to in him. We can reject this life as being without God and therefore without hope in favour of a life that has death and resurrection. Fruit bearing may be painful and destructive but we are not in this alone – God will glorify himself in us as we honour him – even if it means that we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death.
Those who choose to live in the dark will lose their way. We can walk in the light, with Jesus and hear the music of the saints and live.