John 3:14-21

                And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that 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. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

From Rev. Sarah Webb

Wheeling

This text is the cherished prized in the middle of unfamiliar bookends. “For God so loved the world ….” We could say it in our sleep. We know it so well it is almost cliché. Even then, the security of it holds something in place deep within us.

What strikes me about this passage is how little I remember about the verses that precede and follow the heart of it. The reference to Moses lifting up a bronze serpent in the wilderness casts us back to the Israelites who were full of complaints and misery and lack of trust. (See Numbers 21.) The other bookend brings us to judgment, and light and darkness.

Today’s reading falls on this fourth Sunday of Lent, just five days before the Spring Equinox. Our season of darkness is turning toward the light. Darkness can be a powerful metaphor for the unawakened parts of ourselves: the unknown aspects which have been too daunting for us to face full on, but which hold vital life force. Here is where the cherished prize anchors us. Our security in God’s love for us – the absolute knowing that God so loves us and gives us life through Christ – gives us the courage to allow ourselves to be deeply and fully human. Can we embrace both the darkness and lightness we carry within us? Can we look upon our human struggles with compassion and loving kindness? A wholeness waits in that acceptance.

 

From your enormous love, O God,

may we learn to love ourselves. Amen.

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