Brian’s Reflection: Saturday, the Weekend, March 19, 2011
"Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the
kingdom of God without being born from above."
The Gospel called “John”, chapter 3 (Lent II RCL)
[ The complete reading can be viewed at: http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearA_RCL/Lent/ALent2_RCL.html ]
Ah, Nicodemus! This is a good story ….. and I would say that it is originally derived from the early gnosis tradition. “Gnosis” [knowledge] (yes, I know this is simplistic) has, at it’s heart, the concept of being One with all that Is. The understanding is: “God” wants us to “get” this and live in this context. (And by the way, this concept is MUCH older than Christianity.
The story takes a “swipe” at shallow thinkers. Don’t we get what Jesus is saying? Nicodemus is portrayed as typically “dense”; he’s the fall-guy: Whatever do you mean?? I rather doubt that someone like Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, was as dense as he is portrayed. But it advances the story and the point that is being made. Being “born again” has nothing to do with a physical rebirth. It is about coming to understand how we become fully mature as a human being. Jesus’ words relate directly back to the Genesis story about how Adam and Eve became living human beings: God’s breath enlivened them. So: that is what must happen to us. We get born into the World as living biological human beings. But something else has to happen for us to become “made in the image of God”. In mythological terms, we have to “die” to a false understanding of Being, and embrace a different way of understanding how to be Fully Human. The mythological concept is to “become one with God”. And this, by the way, is the task of every human being. Every culture and religion has a way of leading us on this Journey. Few pay attention. Alas.
“Born from above” means simply: we have to learn how to move from an isolated existence to being a part of Humanity. We learn to respect persons, to be intrigued and appreciative of persons, to be delighted by persons, to see persons as reflections of ourselves. Now I find this thoroughly charming! More of a person!
You, I, We, must be “born again”. Grow. Deepen. Complexify. Simplify. Not get stuck in a rut. Constantly evolve. To do this, of course, we must Surrender. Or we remain blocked. Stunted.
Open up! You’ll be a lot happier.