Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish 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. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say— ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
Gracious Father, you gave up your Son out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
A few thoughts,
Sometimes words can be fascinating. Take the word communion. What is it about? Of course, it is closely related to community. We say, “Our Father” not, “My Father.” It is the action of the community as we worship God. It is something that we do together. That is what many have missed during this time of being unable to meet. The togetherness, the sharing of the bread and the wine, singing together, shaking hands, hugging, looking into each other’s eyes, side by side at the altar. Many different things for different people. I have certainly missed it. For me, it is not the same on a screen, perhaps for others it is.
For me it is like the difference between going to a concert or watching it on television.
Soon, I hope that we can begin the process of worshipping together again!
In a way the above was a tangent to what I wanted to say about this week. This Sunday will be Passion Sunday. Again, I want to talk about words. When we talk about passion we often think of high emotions and feelings. If we describe someone as passionate, it implies feelings and actions.
However, there is another word closely related to passion and that is passive. Passive is often opposed to active. In other words, not doing but allowing things to happen. Throughout this period, Jesus does not fight against what is happening, he allows it to happen. He does not hide, he does not attempt to run away, he does not choose violence. Faced with such an imminent death, who knows how we would react? Jesus says to the Father, “Thy will be done.” He allows himself to be arrested and tried, he does not attempt to say, “I didn’t mean that.” He carries his cross to his death.
Passivity can be immensely powerful!
As I said a couple of weeks ago, we will be opening for Easter Sunday. Of course, for the time being there will be some restrictions, social distancing, wearing face coverings, not singing, not sharing wine. The time will come!
I hope that as many of us as possible are vaccinated. We will try to keep ourselves and one another safe.