Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today’s text

John 12:26-28

Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him. Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name! A voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.'


What would happen if we came to each day convinced that we were born for this hour, this time, the challenges of this particular day?

I remember the days following September 11, 2001. I was in New York City interviewing people, listening as they poured out immense pain and hungered for loved ones who never came home.

I traveled with a friend, Stephen, who was then the Bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

For several days, we visited churches and schools, listening to stories of bitter loss, of loved ones whose bodies had been turned to ash in the inferno of the World Trade Center. We heard about children waiting at school house doors for a parent who never came to pick them up.

Today, I most remember Stephen’s words to gatherings of pastors and parochial school teachers. “You were baptized for this time,” he said. “You were born for this hour.”

“What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Stephen never cited these words of Jesus, spoken as he contemplated the suffering of the cross on which he would die. But he might have.

We, too, might remember them as we come to each new day, especially days when the stakes are high, the work hard, the pain deep and the challenge daunting. There is no shortage of days we prefer to skip because they are too difficult, too painful … or because we are weary.

But each new morning brings the day for which I was born, the time for which the divine Spirit fashioned me, the hour in which I am to glorify God by giving myself in love to the needs of this time, whatever they might be.

The people of New York were soul-weary from grief and fear as Stephen and I met them up and down Manhattan, in Harlem, Queens and across the East River in Brooklyn. But Stephen’s words stirred many to rise to the challenge of a day no one wanted, to the pain of an unspeakable hour.

These servants of God knew; they were born for this time, for the facing of this hour.

This hour has not passed. It is now, always now, the hour God is glorified in the loving commitment we bring to reveal the mercy of the divine heart.

For this hour I was born, Jesus says. His words are true every morning … for us.

Pr. David L. Miller

No comments: