Reflection for Holy Week – Light and Love I

Reflection for Holy Week 1

Light and Love I

“the light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in darkness you do not know where you are going.
While you have the light, believe in the light that you may become children of light”
St.John 12:34-35

On Sunday we concluded our journey with Jesus through Lent and began our journey with him through Holy Week. And we undertake this journey not as spectators, but as participants.

Through Baptism – we exchange our life for His Life – and so to live truthfully as Christians, we must live with Jesus, in Jesus, and through Jesus. We must remind ourselves daily that we have no other life. This is what it is to ‘walk in the light’. To participate and share in the Life of Jesus, our Crucified, Risen and Ascended Lord.

This week at Compline we are to reflect on three passages that tell the story of Holy Week as recorded by St John in the twelfth chapter of his Evangel. Each one has a double theme – that of Light and that of Love – although in each case these themes are expressed in different ways.

We begin with these verses

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

John’s account of Jesus entry into Jerusalem closes with the Pharisees all but in despair, saying to one another “You see? You can do nothing. Look! the world has gone after him” That theme of Sight is key to John’s Gospel. The world is now divided into those who See and those who do not and it is clear that here the Pharisees DO See. John uses the strong word for Look! Which our traditional translations read as Behold! Behold the Lamb of God! the other disciple entered the tomb, he Beheld [the empty tomb] and he believed! John uses this word for as it were truthful sight. Behold, the world has gone after him. And so Greek converts to Judaism have come to Jerusalem for the Passover and ask Philip – ‘Sir we wish to Behold Jesus . . .’

Philip and Andrew, the two Greek named disciples who had been responsible for bringing the boy with five loaves and two fish to Jesus – Philip who is always bringing people to Jesus – report this to Jesus.

How do we Behold Jesus? Now is the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified – Now is the hour for him to be lifted up from the earth.

It is in Seeing Christ Crucified that we Behold Jesus – we see him in his Glory. And Seeing Is to believe. To Believe in Jesus, is to believe in the Crucified one – to have our eyes enLightened – to Behold the Love of God. To Know it in truth.

Herein is the Great Contradiction of our faith. As St Paul puts it Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. To Believe in Jesus is to look into the darkness of the Cross, and Behold the Dazzling glory of God. Light In Darkness. In this apparent Utter negation of life – Life is revealed. Love springs as it were ‘ex nihilo’ – the New Creation – out of the Nothing of the Cross – Everything bursts forth. Light, Life and Love – the triumphant fruit of what can only seem to be Darkness, Death and Hatred.

Amen and Amen! I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John as we know, announces the gospel in a different manner to his fellow evangelists. Yet it is the same Gospel. In Matthew, Mark and Luke – Jesus says ‘whoever would be my disciple must take up their cross and follow me. In John, the invitation to participation is even clearer. Having announced his glorification in being lifted high over the world on the Cross, he declares Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

This Gospel of Light in darkness is also The Gospel of participation. We Behold the Love of God in the Crucified One. We Participate in this Love by laying aside all other loves. We shall see this more in the coming nights – but for now we hear the clearest expression of it. We, beholding the Love of God in Christ, Beholding Love, Seeing Love are graciously invited to participate in the LIfe and the Love of God, by hating our lives in this world – by laying them aside. As we heard yesterday – to lay aside all our agendas – To Seek the Kingdom of God in purposeful manner – in the words of the writer to the Hebrews ‘looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the Joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God.’

And thus we know the blessing of God – ‘Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour’ the LIfe that God blesses is the Life of Jesus and the lives of those who follow him in Truth.

God glorifies himself in the one who lives solely for the glory of God.

“the light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in darkness you do not know where you are going.
While you have the light, believe in the light that you may become children of light”
St.John 12:34-35

 

 

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