I was asked to write for the Auburn Wesley Lenten Devotional. You can find it below, although in their booklet (check here for more info) it doesn't appear til March 10th.
Sometimes it is all who you know, right?
Never Say Never
Please read John 12:20-36
As a kid I had a habit of getting in trouble. Whenever my Dad would try to reason with me like a sane human being, I’d cut straight to the chase and bring out the heavy fire-power. I’d use big words like “never” or “always” - descriptions that undoubtedly made my defense sound more plausible.
Thankfully, my Father never bought it. He would gently remind me that “never” is a very long time and “always” just wasn’t true. My older brother Jerry didn’t “always” get his way and “never” doing anything fun was a fabrication.
In John 12, as well, we find people who are quick to rely on previous knowledge of how God “always” acts. The strength of Jesus’ analogy draws from this distinct need for a change! Our very notions of “always” or “never” must give way to death and thus pave the way for life. Even the idea that Jesus (the Messiah) will always be with them is thrown into question (in their own abandonment).
Today it seems so many people are concerned with how things have always been and what must never come to pass. Jesus took that which we hold most lives dear - our - and argued that it is worth risking for a real “always” and “never.” That which we have the greatest pride about, which we get most defensive, and what seems most fragile is precisely what Jesus came to preserve.
We catch a glimpse of what must be done. The very act necessary to achieve the true “always” of eternal life is perfect love. The true idea of Jesus “never” leaving us will require a transformation.
O God of time,
You always love us, may we respond the same way.
You will never leave us, may we find assurance in that.
May we never say never to the new life you offer, even if that is always hard at first. Amen.