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 honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “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 the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
Continuing in this posture of listening…
I hear the clash of numerous musicians and bands in festival celebration.
I hear raucous laughter.
I hear the soft contrast between between the Greeks’ accents and the disciples.
I hear Jesus speaking with conviction.
I hear a hint of exhaustion in it, too.
I hear thunder.
I hear the brush of angel’s wings.
I hear a whisper.
I hear doubt and skepticism.
I hear the sound of feet fading in the distance.
I hear weeping.
On this Lenten day, where do you find the solid ground that God provides? How do you seek the refuge, solace, and shelter that God offers you—not as a perpetual escape from the world but as a place of safety where you can receive the strength and sustenance that will enable you to engage the world in the ways God needs you to engage it?
This time it’s the last line that stays with me – that Jesus went away and hid from it all. He wasn’t immune from fear or anxiety or loneliness or despair and because of it he is truly Emmanuel. He knows us even more than we could possibly realize in this lifetime.
From Jan again, so lovely:
Blessing of Refuge
That I may flee to you
not to escape forever
from the world
that you have created,
the world that you
but that in your refuge
I will find
to strengthen me
to sustain me
to encompass me
as I go
where you would
have me go.
[Image from Paula Altaba Garcia via Pinterest]