We have been drawing from the St. James the Less book group for inspiration to see how the writings of Rachel Held Evans bring the gospel to life.
The Gospel for the first Sunday after Pentecost John 3:1-17
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
“…I’ve got this coping mechanism thing where, when I’m feeling frightened or vulnerable or over my head, I intellectualize the situation to try and regain a sense of control…. It was scary starting over at a new church and trying to make new friends, so before each visit, I girded myself with a sense of smug detachment wherein I could observe the proceedings from the safety of my intellectual superiority, certain I could do a better job at running the show thanks to my expertise as, you know, a Christian blogger. …. I sat in the pew with my arms crossed, mad at the Baptists for not being Methodist enough, the Methodists for not being Anglican enough, the Anglicans for not being evangelical enough, and the evangelicals for not being Catholic enough. I scrutinized the lyrics to every worship song, debated the content of every sermon. …. In some religious traditions, this particular coping mechanism is known as pride.
….I scoffed at the idea of being taught or led. Deconstructing was so much safer than trusting, so much easier than letting people in. I knew exactly what type of Christian I didn’t want to be, but I was too frightened, or too rebellious, or too wounded, to imagine what might be next.”
From Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans; published by Nelson Books © 2015, pp. 86-87
Interested in hearing more of Rachel Held Evans? Join us for Book Club on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. as Fr. Rock and friends delve into Searching For Sunday. Any and all area invited. You can pick up where we are; no preparation necessary.
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