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Lent Sermon Series: Again and Again… God Loves First

John 3:1-21, NRSV


Nicodemus is not a special case. No one knows where the Spirit comes from or where it goes. No one. The only thing that sets Nicodemus apart is that he is so uncomfortable with his unknowing. His problem is that he thinks he ought to know. This is a difficult teaching for those who want to feel secure in their relationship with God, especially if their security depends on knowing how things work … “You do not know,” Jesus says. Not because you are stupid, but because you are not God. So relax if you can, because you are not doing anything wrong. This is what it means to be human.

— Barbara Brown Taylor

  • Nicodemus might have thought his teaching and understanding of God was closer to Jesus’ teaching, compared to other Pharisees
  • He appreciates Jesus’ critique of the temple, but not the critique of individuals, at personal level
  • Nicodemus might actually understood what Jesus meant by being born again, if that means giving up his privileges and status
  • The Cathedral mentality, with the wealth, power and establishment, is not unlike the temple Jesus said about tearing down
    • Christendom was built on stable continental plates. The cathedrals in Europe witness to a form of Christianity that rests on confessional statements, linguistic and cultural uniformity, institutional presence and this-worldly orientation … This stands in sharp contrast to the volatile and mobile situations in present-day human societies. Migrant workers, refugees of war and stateless peoples testify to these ‘homeless’ conditions. Apocalyptic aspects of the Christian faith speaks more powerfully to peoples who live amid tsunamis, earthquakes, riots and wars. In such situations, makeshift tents and huts replace cathedrals to be carriers of Christianity. Peoples are on the move; and even so, faith is on the move. — Michael Nai-Chiu Poon


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