Formation

You Are My Witnesses: A Spiritual Journey for the Third Sunday in Lent

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Editor’s Note: Missio Alliance is partnering with eleven:28 Ministries to provide Lenten meditations entitled “You Are My Witnesses: A Spiritual Journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter,” by Amy Bost Henegar. These reflections began on Ash Wednesday, and are available on Sundays starting the second Sunday in Lent, culminating on Easter. We invite you to set aside 10 minutes or so to move through the meditation below. You can listen to the podcast versions here and/or read along with the edited transcription below. We are grateful to eleven:28 for sharing this resource with the Missio Alliance community and pray that it helps you in your Lenten journey this year.


Remind yourself you are in God’s presence.

Notice how God may be speaking to you today.

Let yourself dwell on a word or phrase that catches your attention or moves your heart.

Let your heart respond to God in prayer.

***

Please repeat these words:

Open my heart to you Lord

And my mouth will declare your praise.

***

Take a minute to notice your breath.

Observe the shifting of breath and energy in the body.

Notice how God is breathing life into you at this very moment.

As God breathed life into the first human beings,

As the Spirit of God breathes life and energy into our souls,

You are right now, in this moment, receiving the gift of breath.

As you inhale, feel the energy of God lift you up; as you exhale, return surrender to gravity, grounded vocation of service in this world.

Just rest in this space for a moment. Observe your breath. Offer your thoughts and feelings to God without trying to control or change anything.

Please repeat these words:

Breathe on me, breath of God,

Fill me with life anew.

A reading from John 3:1-17:

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”

Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”

Yes, God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One, that whoever believes may not die, but have eternal life. God sent the Only Begotten into the world not to condemn the world, but that through the Only Begotten the world might be saved.

A Reflection

We stand with Nicodemus. In a place of curiosity.

Wondering. Questioning.

Confused but curious.

Can we hear Jesus’s words spoken to us?

Unless you are born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.

Unless you are born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.

But how can this be? How can one be born again?


Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes.

You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.

It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

 

So we understand his words when he says…


Unless you are born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.

Unless you are born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.

Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes.

You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.

 

Then Jesus looks at Nicodemus and Jesus looks at us and he says…

 

If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe.

How will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

 

How will we believe?

How will we believe?

Only by being born anew.

Because…

Unless you are born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.

Only by being born of water and the Spirit.

Because…

Unless you are born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.

Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

 

So can we believe?

Can we be born of the Spirit and believe the truth in these words:

 

God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One,

that whoever believes may not die, but have eternal life.

 

Please repeat these words:

Breathe on me, breath of God

Fill me with life anew.

 

Re-Brand Us
by Walter Brueggemann

You mark us with your water,

You scar us with your name,

You brand us with your vision,

And we ponder our baptism,

your water,

your name,

your vision.

While we ponder, we are otherwise branded.

Our imagination is consumed by other brands.

Winning with Nike,

Pausing with Coca-Cola,

Knowing and controlling with Microsoft.

Rebrand us, transform our minds, renew our imagination. That we may be more fully who we are marked and hoped to be, we pray with candor and courage. Amen.

***

We pray today in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray:

Our Father which art in Heaven,

Eternal God, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Not only Father but Mother of us all,

May the hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

May the way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

May your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

May your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever.

Amen.1

 

Benediction

God our savior, Jesus our redeemer,

Your Spirit blows wherever it wishes.

We hear its sound, but we don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.

Breathe on us, O Lord.

May we be born anew.

May we be born from above.

Amen

***

Until we meet again, Go in peace.


[1] The Lord’s Prayer, adapted from the New Zealand Anglican Book of Common Prayer

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