Second Sunday in Lent
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, what whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Something to Do
He came to Jesus by night
Although the dark is often used by John to represent ignorance and fear, we know that the dark can also be a time of quiet intimacy. It can be easier to whisper our secrets in the dark; to pay attention to our inmost hearts; to be still and quiet whether alone or with someone else.
Come to Jesus by night this week. Say night prayers (here is what we are using at church) in the dark, with only enough light to read. Candlelight, of course, is especially nice.
For God so loved the world
Make a valentine or write a love letter to the world from God. What do you think God wants the world to know? How do you think God would describe the world to itself?
Hold this letter in your mind as you go about your life. How does it impact how you react to the world around you?
Something to Wonder
The conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus is the source of the term “born again”. For come, this is a loaded term – loaded with meanings, with emotions, and with memories. What baggage comes with the term for you?
Are you “born again”?
Are there moments or experiences in which you have felt so renewed it could be described as being “born again” – if that term didn’t already carry so much meaning?
How can these things be?
Nicodemus seems completely baffled. Does that seem reasonable or is he missing something?
How would you explain what Jesus is saying? Or what question do you wish Nicodemus had asked Jesus so you could hear what the answer would have been?
What parts of this conversation makes sense to you and what parts leave you as confused as Nicodemus?
Something to Learn
It’s all Greek to me!
If you have been reading Story at Home for a while, you may be familiar with the Biblical translation work by D. Mark Davis at Left Behind and Loving It. He does a thorough job of complicating this reading by bringing to light the variety of translation choices available to us, revealing once again just how little we understand AND how much more we might be able to understand with a little effort.
Take a deep breath and dive in to Water-Flesh-Spirit-Wind-Breath-Newborns
A Little More on Lent – and an apology for missing last week’s Story at Home!
This short video depicts Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness with tenderness, whimsy, and wonder. Enjoy!
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.