The Life that Falls to the Ground

Lent 2021

Gospel Reading: John 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like 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. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. “I am troubled now.  Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Creatively Maladjusted by David Morrison

The world is asking the church, “We would like to see Jesus,” and all the church seems to offer them are bogus culture wars, attacks on science, homophobia, and white nationalism. Jesus still allows his presence to “fall to the ground” of the greater culture to any ground that is suitable. And not just in the greater culture, but in those who will allow their lives to be surrendered to God’s presence as a “seed that has fallen to the ground.”
When we feel our lives are “on target” with the goals we’ve set, we tend to erroneously equate this satisfaction with a sense of righteous accomplishment. What it really points to, however, is that our sense of having arrived is that we are in the state of merely “remaining just a grain of wheat” that has yet to fall, die, and bear fruit. The process is quite disempowering, but it’s the opposite. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Everybody passionately seeks to be well-adjusted… but there are some things in our world to which [people] of good will must be maladjusted … Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” The breaking of the seed’s husk is the death of our over-identification with the roles and definitions that we have contained us all our lives. These boundaries or structures have kept us secure all our lives, and we naturally trust them, but now they are shaken from us as a transformation for a new identity begins. The breaking of the husk of our external identities truly is a death to us since all our lives we’ve been trained to “ascend” to success. The true inner identity of Christ within us is a new and contrary way: it’s a “descent” into life as Richard Rohr often says. The emerging harvest speaks of endless possibilities in the soul’s experience with God’s presence burning in the heart of all creation. We then are moved from external belief in God, the scriptures, or church creeds to knowing the reality of God’s love beyond even our personal experience and five senses.

The Seed’s Journey
by David Morrison

When I perceive my life to have finally arrived: accomplished, goal-centered, and purpose-driven; in your mercy, give me the grace of courage to pray:
“Lord, release me, and let me fall from the Father’s hand.”
When my life feels like an ambling journey: aimless, wind-blown, and chaos-driven; in your mercy, give me the grace of courage to pray:
“Lord, I give myself over to this flight on the wind of your Spirit.”
When my life becomes the nothingness of silence and the emptiness of stillness: Uncreative. Motionless. Irrelevant. Then in your mercy, give me the grace to know in the interior of my soul-I am with Jesus in his journey: crucified and buried,
Resurrected, Transformed, and Awakened forevermore.

Landscape with Olive Trees (Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

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About David Morrison

I've lived here at the community with Marsha, my wife, since its founding in 2003. I serve in various ways from pastoral care to landscape maintenance; from coffee brewing to bar keeping.

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