It’s rare that I’m in church and not preaching! It’s even more rare for me not to preach on a Sunday during Lent. But yesterday was an occasion that called for another voice from the pulpit — the voice of Mark Rogers-Berry, who was preaching in the morning in anticipation of his being ordained in the afternoon. I”ll admit that every-week preachers like myself are not always comfortable taking a seat in the congregation to listen to someone else.
That said, Mark’s message yesterday was a good one for me to hear. He preached on the familiar story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus in the cover of darkness, wanting Jesus to affirm what he thought he already knew. Instead Jesus offered him the challenge of being born again in God’s Spirit while chastising him for thinking he already knew it all.
It was good to be reminded. Oh, I don’t need a reminder that I don’t know it all! Rather, it was good to be reminded of that gift of rebirth. So many times in my life now — perhaps even too many to count — I have been guided by the Holy Spirit into a new life. To a whole new way of living, with fresh eyes to see the world differently, using abilities that I had not yet discovered. Born again.
Perhaps the most significant rebirth was the journey I began with a call to ministry while on staff at Geist Christian Church in Indianapolis, four years of seminary that followed soon after that, and the laying on of hands at my own ordination in May of 2000. Memories of that day came flooding back yesterday afternoon when we gathered around Mark and layed hands on his head. Born again.
Another rebirth was finding David again after not seeing him since elementary school, getting to know him for the first time as an adult, and falling in love. We both believe that God created us all over again as partners for the rest of our lives. And as a married couple, God brought us more new life when I was called to be pastor at Disciples Christian. Born again.
I”m writing this on the first full day of spring and though the temperatures are cool, there are crocuses in bloom in the churchyard outside my office. Born again. We are journeying through the season of Lent, following Jesus to the cross, and yet each Sunday we celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the Table. Born again.
What more God has in store for me, I do not know, I just know there’s more, and it will be good to start fresh once more. Thank you, Rev. Mark, for that reminder.
Born again –