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by Sally Howard

We reach the point in the Lectionary readings this week in which Jesus knows his life is in danger. Lazarus has been healed and word has spread. Jesus, the bearer of salve, has loved all that is unloved in human persons, gathering together all that was scattered and broken. He is attracting followers beyond the borders of his own people and he is becoming an increasing threat to the empire order. Jesus knows his days are numbered and he is troubled and storm-tossed by the suffering he anticipates. Yet, Jesus finds a way to continue living into the present moment in the house of Love. How did Jesus find the courage and strength to accept this suffering?

I believe it was because Jesus was rooted, rock solid confident in Love: love that heals and tends to the least of these; love that speaks truth to power; love that is unrestrained and inwardly free of all that hinders wholeness and community. And I think Jesus’ ability to continue to pour himself out in love, naturally flowed from his confidence that he was absolutely loved by God. Jesus lived in a deep and secure connection to the Divine Breath of God, and he trusted himself to the indestructible power of God’s inexhaustible love.

It was this that allowed him to die to the falseness of an autonomous and self-contained existence, and to be born anew into the wholeness of being. By living “in experiential union with the pain of the world and the love of God” (Ed Bacon, sermon March 15), Jesus became a human being fully alive, a brilliant reflection of the glory of God.